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Medicine and 
Capitalism in 

E. Richard Brown 

University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London 

Excerpts from Abraham Flexner, 

Abraham Flexner: An Autobiography, 

copyright © 1940 by Abraham Flexner and 

© 1960 by Jean Flexner Lewison and Eleanor Flexner, 

reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster. 

University of California Press 
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California 

University of California Press, Ltd. 
London, England 

Copyright © 1979 by 

The Regents of the University of California 

First Paperback Printing 1980 

ISBN 0-520-04269-7 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 7&-65461 

Printed in the United States of America 


To Marianne, Delia, and Adrienne 


Acknowledgments xi 

Introduction 1 

Doctors 5 

Other Interest Groups 7 

Foundations and the State 8 

"Wholesale Philanthropy": From Charity to Social 
Transformation 13 

Creating Private Fortunes and Social Discontent 14 

Driving the Reluctant Poor from Poverty 20 

Training Scientific Heads to Direct America's "Hard Hands" 24 

Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" 30 

Reverend Gates Introduces Rockefeller to "Wholesale 

Philanthropy" 32 
The Reverend Frederick T. Gates: The Making of a Rockefeller 

Medicine Man 38 
The General Education Board: $129 Million for Strategic 

Philanthropy 43 
Social Managers for a Corporate Society 50 

Scientific Medicine I: Ideology of Professional Uplift 60 

American Medicine in the 1800s 61 

Incomplete Professionalization 67 

Medicine as Science 71 

Gaining Public Confidence 74 

Reducing Competition 80 

Technical Requirements of Scientific Medical Education 80 

via I Contents 

"Nonsectarian" Medicine Undermines the Sects 88 
Specialization: Less Competition for the Ehte 91 
Gains and Losses 94 

3. Scientific Medicine II: The Preservation of Capital 98 

Medical Technology and Capital 98 

Welch: A Rockefeller Medicine Man 102 

Rockefeller Money and Medical Science: A Social Investment 105 

Homeopathy: The Conflict Simmers 109 

Scientific Medicine and Capitalist Gates 111 

Healthier Workers 112 

Ideological Medicine 119 

Gates' Digression 130 

A Permanent Investment 132 

4. Reforming Medical Education: Who Will Rule 
Medicine? 135 

Practitioners Gain a Foothold 136 

Council on Medical Education 138 

Money for Medical Education: Who Will Pay? 141 

Help from the Carnegie Foundation 142 

The "Flexner Report" 145 

The General Education Board: Medical Education Gets a Different 

Drummer 156 
Full Time: "Gold or Glory" 158 
Selling the Full-Time Proposal 164 
Boston Brahmins Resist 166 
Fear and TrembUng in the Board Room 167 
State Universities: Professionals, the State, and Corporate 

Liberalism 176 
Summing Up 188 

5. Epilogue: A Half-Century of Medicine in Corporate 
Capitalist Society 192 

Frederick T. Gates and the Rockefeller Philanthropies 193 


The Committee on the Costs of Medical Care 195 
Doctors and the Capital-Intensive Commodity Sector 197 
The State: Rationalizing the Private Market 200 
The Growth of Capital-Intensive Commodities 203 
The "Corporate Rationalizers" 204 
The State and Capitalist Medicine 207 

Contents I ix 

Up Against the Medical Market 212 

National Health Insurance: More of the Same 216 


Scientific Medicine: Beliefs and Reality 218 

Life, Death, and Medicine 219 

Tapping the State Treasury 225 

A "Superacademic General Staff' 226 

The Corporate Class 228 

The Medical-Industrial Complex 231 

Technology in Crisis 233 

Blaming the Victim: New Prominence for an Old Ideology 235 


Notes 243 
Index 273 


The idea for this book grew out of my teaching about the poHtical 
economy of health care. My students and I asked how the present 
system came to be. The search for answers led me to histories of 
medicine, pubhshed materials in journals of the period, and the 
archival files of the Rockefeller and Carnegie philanthropies. The 
archives provided a rich record of the thoughts, policies, and 
actions of some of the most influential persons in the history of 
American medicine. 

The search culminated in this book. But the book would not 
have been possible without the generous help, enthusiastic 
interest, and personal support of many people. I am especially 
grateful to Howard Waitzkin, WilHam Kornhauser, Barbara 
Ehrenreich, Gert Brieger, and Michael Pincus, all of whom gave 
me detailed and thoughtful criticisms on major portions of the 
manuscript together with great encouragement. I also received 
helpful criticism and support from Anne Johnson, Jon Garfield, 
Charlene Harrington, Barbara Waterman, James O'Connor, Dan 
Feshbach, Ivan lUich, David Horowitz, June Fisher, Kathryn 
Johnson, Jack London, Jane Grant, Tom Bodenheimer, Sara 
Mclntire, Joe Selby, Larry Sirott, and Myrna Cozen. Howard 
Berliner has been an exceptional colleague, sharing ideas and 
material in a cooperative effort to understand these sparsely stud- 
ied issues. 

Marianne Parker Brown, my wife, gave me continuing 
encouragement and intellectual criticism and support, even when 
the burdens of family and household fell disproportionately on 
her shoulders. My daughters, Delia and Adrienne, were under- 

xii I Acknowledgments 

standing beyond their years while their father was "working on 
his book." 

The staffs of the Rockefeller Foundation Archives and the 
Rockefeller Family Archives (now combined in the Rockefeller 
Archive Center) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advance- 
ment of Teaching were very helpful in providing convenient 
working facilities and making my research in New York excitingly 
productive. The staffs of the Health Sciences Information Service 
and the Library Delivery Service at the University of California 
saved me innumerable hours of retrieving books and journals 
from the far-flung libraries on the Berkeley campus. 

Eva Scipio, Ruth McKeeter, and Sandra Golvin skillfully 
typed portions of the manuscript in its various phases. Estelle 
Jelinek carefully and thoughtfully copy edited the final manu- 

Much of the research for the last chapter was done while I was 
a consultant to the Childhood and Government Project at the 
University of California Law School. The Health and Medical 
Sciences Program, also at Berkeley, helped defray the costs of my 
research trip to the archives in New York. 

The Rockefeller Archive Center and the Carnegie Founda- 
tion for the Advancement of Teaching kindly gave me permission 
to publish excerpts from their files. 


The crisis in today's health care system is deeply rooted in the 
interwoven history of modern medicine and corporate capitalism. 
The major groups and forces that shaped the medical system 
sowed the seeds of the crisis we now face. The medical profession 
and other medical interest groups each tried to make medicine 
serve their own narrow economic and social interests. Founda- 
tions and other corporate class institutions insisted that medicine 
serve the needs of "their" corporate capitalist society. The dia- 
lectic of their common efforts and their clashes, and the economic 
and political forces set in motion by their actions, shaped the 
system as it grew. Out of this history emerged a medical system 
that poorly serves society's health needs. 

The system's most obvious problems are the cost, inflation, 
and inaccessibiUty of medical care in the United States. Total 
health expenditures in this country topped $200 billion in 1979, 
nearly $1,000 for every woman, man, and child. Far more of 
society's resources now go into medical expenditures than ever 
before; twice the portion of the Gross National Product was 
spent on medical care in 1980 than in 1950. 

We pay for these costs through our taxes, health insurance 
premiums, and directly out of our pockets. Public expen- 
ditures — four out of every ten dollars spent on personal health 
services — come out of our taxes. Private health insurance and di- 
rect out-of-pocket payments each account for about three out of 
every ten dollars. No matter what form it takes, the entire $200 
billion originates in the labor of men and women in the society. 
President Carter estimated that the average American worker 

2 / Introduction 

works one month each year just to pay the costs of the medical 

Most people feel they should be getting a lot for this money, 
but instead they find that it is difficult even to get the care they 
need. Primary care physicians — general practitioners, pediatri- 
cians, internists, and gynecologists — are scarce. Doctors and 
hospitals are clustered in the "better" parts of our cities and 
largely absent from the poorer sections and rural areas of our 
country. For the millions of Americans covered by Medicaid (the 
government subsidy program for the public assistance-linked 
poor), the coverage has been as sparse and degrading as the de- 
meaning clinics it was supposed to replace. The middle class and 
the poor share at least long waiting periods for doctors, one of the 
most common constraints on the accessibility of physicians. In- 
stead of creating a humane and accessible medical care system, 
Medicare and Medicaid have helped fuel inflation in medical costs 
by dumping new funds into a privately controlled system ready to 
absorb every penny into expansion, technology, high salaries, 
and profits. 

A second, somewhat less widely discussed, problem is the 
relatively small impact medical care makes on the population's 
health status. Despite a plethora of new diagnostic procedures, 
drugs, and surgical techniques, we are not as healthy as we 
beheved these medical wonders would make us. Some critics, Uke 
social philosopher Ivan Illich,^ accuse medicine of making us 
sicker — physically, politically, and culturally — than we would be 
without it. Many analysts have documented the medical profes- 
sion's social control functions, medical technology's frequently 
adverse effects on our health, and medicine's neglect of impor- 
tant physical and social environmental influences on our health.^ 
Instead of medicine Hberating us from the suffering and depen- 
dency of illness, we find that its oppressive elements have grown 
at least as rapidly as its technical achievements. 

Why has medical care grown so costly so rapidly? Why is it so 
plentiful and yet so inaccessible? How did medicine become 
technically so sophisticated but remain socially unconcerned and 
even repressive? 

A popular but too facile answer is that such problems are 
characteristic of technology and industrialized societies. Accord- 
ing to this argument, technology and industrialization impose 

Introduction I 3 

their own limits on forms of social organization and produce 
similar kinds of problems that call forth similar solutions. Medical 
sociologist David Mechanic finds problems of cost, organization, 
and ethical dilemmas in medicine widespread among industri- 
alized countries and concludes that "the demands of medical 
technology and the growth of the science base of medical activity 
produce pressures toward common organizational solutions 
despite strong ideological differences.'"^ lUich asserts that "patho- 
genic medicine is the result of industrial overproduction."^ In this 
view, technology has a life of its own, imposing its imperatives on 
individuals and social organization. By focusing on widespread 
patterns of industrial organization and technological develop- 
ment, these analysts conclude that technology and industrializa- 
tion are universal determining forces. 

Such technological determinism ignores the particular history 
in which society and technology interact. In the Marxian view, 
technology and economic organization constantly shape each 
other in a dialectical process. Individuals and groups who own the 
resources and control the organization of production, far from 
being at the mercy of "neutral" technology, introduce innova- 
tions that serve their own ends and oppose those that would serve 
other interests than their own. These innovations may neglect 
broader community needs and may hurt the interests of others. 
Machines and factories undermined the autonomy and even the 
economic existence of independent craft workers. Hospitals and 
their expensive equipment may tie many health workers to 
monotonous jobs and use funds that might otherwise go for more 
widely distributed community clinics. Those affected by these 
technological developments may resist them and force their 
modification. Workers may organize into unions and gain some 
control over the relations of production. Communities may 
organize to block hospital expansion and force development of 
more community-based clinics. In sum, the political-economic 
organization of society generates certain types of technological 
innovation and not others, and these innovations generate new 
social forces that modify technology and poUtical-economic 

This book sees scientific, technological medicine not as the 
determining force in the development of modern health care but 
as a tool developed by members of the medical profession and the 

4 / Introduction 

corporate class to serve their perceived needs. Individuals and 
groups who possess needed resources can apply them to develop 
certain types of technological innovation in medicine. Those who 
have the requisite resources can also apply the resulting techno- 
logical innovation to serve their economic and social needs. 

In the United States medicine came of age during the same 
period that corporations grew to dominate the larger economy. 
As corporate capitalism developed, it altered many institutions in 
the society, medicine among them. Its influence was created not 
simply through cultural assimilation or the demands of industrial 
organization but by persons who acted in its behalf. This inter- 
pretation does not suggest that history is made by dark conspira- 
cies. Rather, it argues that the class that disproportionately owns, 
directs, and profits from the dominant economic system will 
disproportionately influence other spheres of social relations as 

Members of the corporate class, including those who own 
substantial shares of corporate wealth as well as the top managers 
of major corporate institutions, naturally try to ensure the 
survival of capitalist society and their own positions in its social 
structure. In the case of medicine, members of the corporate 
class, acting mainly through philanthropic foundations, articulat- 
ed a strategy for developing a medical system to meet the needs 
of capitalist society. They believed their goals for medicine would 
benefit the society as a whole, just as they beUeved that the 
private accumulation of wealth and private decisions about how 
to use that wealth and its income were in the best interests 
of society. In this book, we will examine the strategies they 
developed during the Progressive era and the reasons for their 
actions, leaning heavily on the public and private thoughts of 
some persons centrally involved in these efforts. We will describe 
and analyze the interests and strategies of the medical profession 
and of the corporate class as they developed independently, 
coalesced, and then clashed. We will also see that the government 
has increasingly taken over the strategies and struggles begun by 
the corporate class. 

The corporate class influenced medicine, but it could not 
control it absolutely. The market system in medical care provides 
special interest groups — today including doctors, hospitals, insur- 
ance companies, drug companies, and medical supply and 

Introduction I 5 

equipment companies — ^with the opportunity to develop their 
own bases of economic power, enabhng them to carve out and 
defend their turfs in the marketplace. The larger business class 
stands "above" these interest groups, trying to tame and coordi- 
nate the leviathan but nonetheless committed to private owner- 
ship and control and also enjoying medicine's legitimizing and 
cultural functions. The relationships and the contradictions that 
emerged among the corporate class and these medical interest 
groups profoundly influenced the organization and content of 
today's medical system. 


From our vantage point today it is difficult to beheve that in 
the late nineteenth century the medical profession lacked power, 
wealth, and status. Medicine at that time was plurahstic in its 
theories of disease, technically ineffective in preventing or curing 
sickness, and divided into several warring sects. Existing profes- 
sional organizations had virtually no control over the entry of new 
doctors into the field. Physicians as a group were merely scattered 
members of the lower professional stratum, earning from several 
hundred to several thousand dollars a year and having no special 
status within the population. 

By the 1930s, however, medicine was firmly in the hands 
of an organized profession that controlled entry into the field 
through licensure and accreditation of medical schools and teach- 
ing hospitals. The profession also controlled the practice and eco- 
nomics of medicine through local medical societies. "Medicine" 
had come to mean the field of clinical practice by graduates of 
schools that followed the scientific, clinical, and research orienta- 
tions laid down by the American Medical Association (AMA) 
and by Abraham Flexner in a famous report for the Carnegie 
Foundation. All other healers were being excluded from practice. 
Physicians were increasingly drawn only from the middle and 
upper classes. The median net income for nonsalaried physicians 
in 1929 was $3,758, above the average for college teachers but 
below the faculty at Yale University and below the average for 
mechanical engineers. "^ Overall, doctors were rapidly rising in 
income, power, and status among all occupational groups. 

In the 1970s physicians have continued to climb to the top 

6 I Introduction 

rungs of America's class structure. The" median net income of 
office-based physicians — $63,000 in 1976 — places them in the top 
few percentiles of society's income structure. In 1939 the average 
earnings of doctors were two and a half times as great as those of 
other full-time workers, but by 1976 the gap had increased to five 
and a half times. Doctors rank with Supreme Court justices at the 
top of the occupational status hierarchy. And in recent public 
opinion polls, more Americans said they trusted the medical 
profession than any other American institution — including higher 
education, government (of course), and organized rehgion.^ 

Rising "productivity" has been an important factor in physi- 
cians' efforts to raise their incomes, status, and power. The 
medical profession has drastically controlled the production of 
new physicians and has delegated to technicians and paraprofes- 
sionals below them the tasks they no longer find interesting or 
profitable. With rapidly expanding medical technology, more and 
more tasks were shifted down the line to a burgeoning health 
work force. At the beginning of this century two out of every 
three health workers were physicians. Of the more than 4.7 
million health workers today, only one in twelve is a physician. 
Thus, doctors have increasingly become the managers of patient 
care rather than the direct providers of it.^ 

As medical managers, physicians have found themselves 
drawn out of private practice into employment in hospitals, re- 
search, teaching, government, and other institutions. Today four 
in ten doctors are employed in such institutions, compared with 
one in ten in 1931 . These physicians have had fewer material inter- 
ests in common with private practitioners and have shown little 
pohtical support for the AMA.^° 

Physicians entered a struggle to maintain their position at the 
top of the medical hierarchy soon after that position was won. 
The challenge has not, for the most part, come from below, 
except for recent attempts by nurses to increase their authority in 
patient care. Doctors have found themselves in a struggle with 
hospitals, insurance companies, medical schools, foundations, 
government health agencies, and other groups with an interest in 
a more rationalized health system — one in which the parts are 
more coordinated hierarchically and horizontally and in which 
more emphasis is given to capital-intensive services. The conflict 
has emerged between organized practitioners as one interest 

Introduction I 7 

group, what Robert Alford calls "professional monopolizers," 
and all the groups seeking to systematize health care according to 
bureaucratic and business principles of organization, what Alford 
calls "corporate rationalizers.'"' 


In challenging the power of organized medicine to protect its 
interests, hospitals, particularly through the American Hospital 
Association (AHA), have tried to appear the "logical center" of 
any rationalized health system.'^ In their transformation and 
growth from asylums for the sick and dying poor to their 
twentieth-century role as the physician's workshop, hospitals 
developed a powerful position in modern health care as the major 
locus of medical technology. Because of physicians' growing 
reliance on technology, hospitals were absorbing an increasing 
share of dollars spent on medical care. PubHc and private health 
insurance (really, medical care insurance) developed as a stable 
source of income, enabling hospitals to expand their facihties. 
Collectively, hospitals have become a major force in the medical 
system, consuming 40 percent of the nation's annual health care 
expenditures. Blue Cross and Blue Shield (the "Blues"), created 
in the 1930s and 1940s by hospital associations and medical socie- 
ties, respectively, together with commercial insurance companies 
now control 30 percent of medical care expenditures, mostly em- 
phasizing hospital-based technical care. They have developed 
economic and political clout commensurate with their dominating 
fiscal role. 

While the insurance industry is a new voice in the chorus of 
corporate rationalizers, medical schools have been in the van- 
guard for more than half a century. Although run by physicians 
— for the reproduction of health professionals and as the research 
and development arm of the medical industry — medical school 
interests have often conflicted with the interests of practitioner- 
dominated medical societies. In the nineteenth century, medical 
schools were generally run by small groups of doctors for their 
own financial benefit. During most of the twentieth century, 
medical schools have been university-controlled and respon- 
sive to the interests of foundations and, since World War !•, 
government funding sources. For the brief period from about 

8 I Introduction 

1900 to World War I , science-oriented medical schools and the AMA 
joined forces to press for the acceptance of scientific medi- 
cine. Since that time they have gone their separate ways — the 
AMA struggling to preserve the dominance and incomes of private 
practitioners, and medical schools fostering more rationalized 
medical care, usually with physicians as top management. 

Hospitals, insurance companies, and medical schools all have 
a relatively greater interest than doctors in promoting capital- 
intensive, rationalized medical care. While expanding medical 
technology helped doctors increase their status and incomes, it 
has been the raison d'etre of hospitals, medical schools, and even 
insurance companies. Medical technology's demands for heavy 
capital investment also encourage rationalization of medical re- 
sources — centralization and coordination of capital, facihties, ex- 
penditures, income, and personnel. 


Besides these interest groups, two other forces — the govern- 
ment and foundations — have exerted a powerful influence in 
favor of rationalizing medical care. Although the government has 
been the dominant influence since World War II, foundations 
were the major external influence on American medicine in its 
formative period from 1900 to 1930. Their source of power has 
been the purse, generously but carefully appHed to specific 
programs and policies. Neither foundations nor the government 
has operated as an interest group in the manner of doctors, 
hospitals, insurance companies, medical schools, and the drug 
and hospital supply industries. The enormous sums they expended 
— from foundations some $300 million from 1910 through the 
1930s and from the federal government many billions of dollars 
since World War II, for medical research and education alone — 
have not been for their own financial enrichment. 

The argument developed and supported in this book suggests 
that both foundation policy and government policy have served 
the interests of certain medical groups but only because the 
interests of these groups coincided with those of the larger 
corporate class. As evidence from the historical record will show, 
the programs of foundations earher in this century were explicitly 

Introduction I 9 

intended to develop and strengthen institutions that would extend 
the reach and tighten the grasp of capitalism throughout the 

In medicine the major objectives of foundations were: to 
develop a system of medicine that would be supportive of capital- 
ist society; and to rationalize medical care to make it accessible 
to those whom it was supposed to reach but at the least cost to 
society's resources. These objectives created their own contradic- 
tions. At first, foundations aligned themselves with the aims and 
strategies of the medical profession, but they soon rejected the 
narrow interests the profession wished to serve and moved quickly 
to expand the roles of medical schools and hospitals and to 
support their dominance over all medical care. By World War 
II, when the role of the State* in governing the capitalist econ- 
omy was fully established, the federal government took over the 
foundations' leading role in medicine, continuing the basic stra- 
tegy adopted by the foundations more than two decades earlier 
and opening the floodgates of the treasury to implement it. 

In the first chapter, we will see how philanthropic foundations 
emerged from several parallel developments of capitalist society 
in the latter nineteenth century. While many members of the new 
wealthy class were supporting charities to ameHorate the disrup- 
tions and deprivations imposed on large numbers of people by 
capitalist industrialization, others recognized the need for techni- 
cally trained professionals and managers and supported the 
development of universities and professional science. Just after 
the turn of the century men of great wealth, Uke John D. 
Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, created philanthropic founda- 
tions with professional managers in charge of their charitable 
fortunes. With the Rockefeller philanthropies in the lead, these 
foundations developed strategic programs to legitimize the funda- 
mental social structure of capitalist society and to provide for its 
technical needs. 

Chapter 2 traces the social and economic role of scientific 
medicine in the history of the American medical profession. 

*Throughout this book, capitalized "State" refers to the political institutions and 
agencies of government which embody society's political authority. Uncapitalized "state" 
refers to the individual states in the United States. 

10 I Introduction 

Modern scientific medicine was not merely a "natural" outcome 
of combining science and medicine in the nineteenth century. 
Apart from the concrete scientific developments that permitted 
the appHcation of scientific thought and investigation to problems 
of disease, scientific medicine had equally important social and 
economic origins. It was an essential part of a strategy articulated 
by reform leaders of the medical profession to enhance the 
profession's position in society, and it succeeded because it won 
the support of dominant segments of the American class struc- 

Scientific medicine gained the support of the American med- 
ical profession in the late nineteenth century because it met the 
economic and social needs of physicians. By giving doctors greater 
technical credibility in society, it saved them from the igno- 
minious position to which the profession had sunk. Moreover, 
scientific medicine became an ideological tool by which the dom- 
inant "regular" segment of the profession restricted the produc- 
tion of new doctors, overcame other medical sects, temporarily 
united leading medical school faculty and practitioners, and 
otherwise reduced competition. 

Despite its appeal for the medical profession, scientific med- 
icine would have accomplished Httle for doctors if it had not had 
the support of dominant groups in American society. In Chapter 
3 we will see the reasons for this capitalist support, especially 
through the thinking of Frederick T. Gates, for more than two 
decades the chief philanthropic and financial lieutenant to John 
D. Rockefeller and the architect of the major Rockefeller medi- 
cal philanthropies. 

As an explanation of the causes, prevention, and cure of 
disease that was strikingly similar to the world view of industrial 
capitalism, scientific medicine won the support of the classes 
associated with the rise of corporate capitalism in America. 
Capitalists and corporate managers believed that scientific medi- 
cine would improve the health of society's work force and thereby 
increase productivity. They also embraced scientific medicine as 
an ideological weapon in their struggle to formulate a new culture 
appropriate to and supportive of industrial capitalism. They were 
drawn to the profession's formulation of medical theory and 
practice that exonerated capitalism's vast inequities and its 
reckless practices that shortened the lives of members of the 

Introduction I U 

working class. Thus, scientific medicine served the interests of 
both the dominant medical profession and the corporate class in 
the United States. 

Nevertheless, a contradiction emerged between the interests 
of the medical profession and those of the corporate class. As we 
will see in Chapter 4, the private practice profession and the 
corporate class clashed over attempts to reform medical educa- 
tion. The financing of scientific medical schools required tremen- 
dous amounts of capital from outside the medical profession. 
Those who provided the capital had the leverage to impose 
policy. The lines of the conflict were clearly drawn: Was medical 
education to be controlled by and to serve the needs of medical 
practitioners? Or was it to serve the broader needs of capitalist 
society and be controlled by corporate class institutions? 

The Flexner report, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation, 
tried to unify these interests by centering its attack on crassly 
commercial medical schools. However, the Rockefeller philan- 
thropies, substantially directed by Gates, exposed the contradic- 
tion by forcing a full-time clinical faculty system on recipient 
schools against the interests and arguments of private practition- 
ers. Gates made it clear that medicine must serve capitalist 
society and be controlled — through the medical schools that 
reproduce its professional personnel and innovate its technique 
— by capitalist foundations and capitalist universities. By 1929 one 
Rockefeller foundation, the General Education Board, had itself 
appropriated more than $78 million to medical schools to im- 
plement this strategy, and Gates' perspective was firmly estab- 

Gates was adamant about keeping his strategy free of involve- 
ment with the State by not giving money to state university 
medical schools. However, within the Rockefeller philanthropies 
as within the largest industrial and financial corporations gen- 
erally, most officers and directors had come to see the State as 
a necessary aid in rationalizing industries, markets, and institu- 

The course that Gates and his contemporaries initiated 
continued to develop during the next half-century, but with the 
State assuming the dominant financial and political role in ration- 
alizing medical care and developing medical technology. As we 
will see in Chapter 5, the State's emphasis on technological 

12 I Introduction 

medicine ignored some of the most important determinants of 
disease and death while the economic and pohtical forces of 
capitaUst society assured that rationaUzation would not eliminate 
the developing corporate ownership and control over the medical 
market. How medicine will be contained and rationalized in this 
private market system is a contradiction that now plagues the 
State and the corporate class as the demand for national health 
insurance grows. How medical resources can be transformed into 
effective instruments for improving the population's health is a 
contradiction imposed on the entire society. These contradictions 
and their resulting crises are the legacy of medicine's develop- 
ment in capitalist society. 


"Wholesale Philanthropy ": 
From Charity to Social 

Industrialization in nineteenth-century America created many 
problems for those who owned and managed the corporations 
that came to dominate the economy. Industrial capitalists had to 
arrange for adequate capital, obtain raw materials, organize pro- 
duction, disciphne a reluctant work force, and develop markets 
and transportation systems. They also had to deal with the politi- 
cal structures and methods intended for older relations of pro- 
duction, centered around agriculture and commerce, that were 
only slowly adapting to the new industrial, corporate order. Finally, 
they had to reshape older social institutions or create new ones. 
Educational, religious, medical, and cultural institutions were 
some of the glue that held together the ancien regime. In sum, 
the new corporate class had to transform all these economic, politi- 
cal, and social institutions to serve their urbanized, industrialized, 
and corporate society. 

The new economic order created different problems for 
classes that owned little or nothing of the new system. American 
society had never been tranquil, but industrialization spread deep 
disaffection and anger among classes who were dislocated by it 
and among those who suffered as a result of capitalist accumula- 
tion of wealth. The agrarian and merchant rulers of the formerly 
dominant towns resented the meteoric rise of urban industrialists 
and bankers. Native craftsmen, foreign immigrants, and dis- 

14 I "Wholesale Philanthropy 

possessed farmers reluctantly submitted to the factory system. 
Unionism, populism, and socialism threatened the power and 
wealth of corporations and even raised doubts about the contin- 
ued existence of capitalism. 

As we will see in this chapter, corporate capitalists turned to 
philanthropy, the universities, and then to medicine to solve 
some of the many problems that grew out of capitalist industrial- 
ization. For the most part, social transformations were led by the 
same "unseen hand" that guided the market forces of capitalism; 
this self-interest provided a limited perspective for social change. 
Only gradually did leading capitalists and their allies consciously 
develop broad strategies and supports for the new order they 
were building. Philanthropic capitalists supported often harsh but 
hopefully ameliorative charity to control the desperate poorer 
classes. Others began building universities to meet the new 
society's needs for trained experts and managers. A new manage- 
rial and professional stratum developed to direct corporations, 
universities, science, medical institutions, and philanthropy itself. 
After the turn of the century, some philanthropists transformed 
foundations into a truly corporate philanthropy,* modeled after 
the dominant economic institutions and fueled with their "sur- 
plus" wealth. Representatives of the emerging corporate liberal- 
ism made these foundations their chief instruments for transform- 
ing social institutions, giving corporate philanthropy an historical 
role beyond the most visionary dreams of early philanthropic 
capitalists. This union of corporate philanthropy, the manager- 
ial-professional stratum, and the universities and science spawned 
the Rockefeller medicine men and their new system of medicine. 


The Civil War was a watershed in American philanthropy, as 
it was in nearly all aspects of American life. It was a great 
wrenching experience in American history, spreading death and 
destruction, stimulating industrial development, and producing 

*In this book, "corporate philanthropy" refers to philanthropy characteristic of 
corporate capitalism, especially foundations that are philanthropic corporations controlled 
by members of the corporate class. 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 15 

upheavals within and between all classes of Americans. A new 
kind of philanthropy, tailored to these new conditions, emerged 
in the decades following the war. 

The Civil War not only freed the black slaves from legal bonds 
of slavery. It also freed the hand of Northern capital to extend 
throughout the nation the industrial transformation it had begun 
mainly north of the Ohio River. As the "underground railroad" 
was the vehicle and symbol of freedom for ante-bellum slaves, the 
iron railroad was the vehicle and symbol of industrialization and 
the ascending capitalist class. 

As the railroads were used increasingly to move troops and 
suppHes for the Union armies, they helped extend and integrate 
the marketplace, making possible a speciaHzed manufacturing 
and marketing system that could be coordinated across the 
continent. The railroads pushed into every region of the country. 
They brought farm produce to new markets and to ports for ship- 
ment to distant lands. They carried cotton from Southern fields 
to New England textile mills. They carried iron ore from Lake 
Superior to the iron mills and new Bessemer steel furnaces in 
Pittsburgh, and oil from western Pennsylvania to Cleveland 
refineries. And they brought the products from the nation's 
factories to markets in every region. Everywhere, they spread 
new settlements and development. Despite interruptions during 
the Civil War, railroad construction added 62,000 miles of new 
lines in the 1860s and 1870s, tripling the nation's existing track 
mileage. Railroad construction required iron and later steel rails 
and bridges. The railroads themselves soon became the biggest 
customers of America's growing steel industry. 

The Civil War and the railroads led some men to their pots of 
gold. Andrew Carnegie began his rise to fortune as a telegraph 
clerk for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1853. By the beginning of 
the Civil War the ambitious twenty-five-year-old Carnegie was 
well into railroad management and spent a few months organizing 
rail transport and telegraph communications for the War Depart- 
ment. But Carnegie quit his exciting and dangerous war front job 
and returned to the Pennsy and especially to tend his growing 
investment in iron manufacturing and coal mining. By 1863 his 
annual income exceeded $40,000.^ 

John Davison Rockefeller's fortunes were also helped by the 
Civil War. In 1861, as the war consumed the energies and lives of 

16 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy" 

Northerners and Southerners, the twenty-five-year-old Rockefel- 
ler was building a successful merchandising firm in Cleveland. As 
war orders poured in, commodity prices rose sharply, and 
Rockefeller's profits soared. Two years later, Rockefeller had 
saved enough capital to invest in an oil refining business, and by 
the end of the war he was worth enough to take control of the 
company. By 1880, led by Rockefeller's determination to "make 
money and still more money," combined with relentless com- 
petition in the marketplace and rebates extracted from the rail- 
roads, his Standard Oil Company was refining 95 percent of the 
country's oil.^ 

While the industrial base had obviously been growing in the 
decades before the Civil War, it was the changes wrought by the 
war that cemented the new system's structure. The Southern 
patrician class, whose position was based on agriculture and 
slaves, was not crushed, but its subordination to the Northern- 
controlled capitalist economy was assured. The factory system 
was extended with the railroad, and an industrial working class 
was formed out of craftsmen and laborers, native folk and 
immigrants. Small-town America gradually gave way to industrial 
and commercial boom, and cities grew faster than their fragile 
tenements could be built. In the process, the older entrepreneurs 
and landed gentry were displaced by the new entrepreneurs and 
their corporations. By the 1870s, for example, only 520, or 5 
percent, of the 10,395 businesses in Massachusetts were incorpo- 
rated. But this 5 percent held 96 percent of the total capital and 
employed 60 percent of all workers. By 1900 three-fourths of all 
manufactured goods were produced by corporations. Because of 
the important logistical role of the railroads, the Civil War has 
been called the "first railroad war." Yet the war did not rely on 
an industrial economy. As William Appleman Williams aptly put 
it, the Civil War "produced an industrial system rather than being 
fought with one."^ The ultimate victors of the war were the 
corporations and the men who, for the most part, ruled the new 

Not all was smooth for the new barons of the corporate 
economy, nor did they make life easy for those under them. The 
owners of each industry, driven to grab what they could of the 
available market and accumulate as much capital as possible in 
the shortest time, pushed wages down in order to lower prices 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 17 

and to get a jump on their competitors. Immigrants were 
inducted into the growing industrial work force. Some 16 million 
foreign-born were attracted to the country in the second half of 
the nineteenth century, totaling 15 percent of the population by 
1890 and nearly a quarter of the population of the industrialized 
northeastern states. Craftsmen saw their skills, the basis of 
modest security and pride, fall to degradation and unemploy- 
ment before machines that outproduced them and factories that 
oppressed them. Migrants from failing farms and immigrants 
from foreign lands filled the factories and cities of the New 
World. Working men lost their livelihoods or submitted to the 
harshest labors. Women were drawn out of more traditional 
homebound work into factories, shops, and stores. Twenty 
percent of the nation's women were wage laborers by 1900. 
Children were sucked into the factories as the cheapest labor. 
Working-class family and social Hfe were shaken and devastated. 

Exploitation of workers, unmitigated by either legal restraints 
or humanitarianism, led to increased organizing by labor. The 
depression of the 1870s brought wages in 1875 down to $1.50 for a 
ten-hour day. Riots were common in cities throughout the 
country. Labor began to organize, and employers used every 
available power, from lockouts to Pinkertons, to crush the union 
movement. In 1877 the first nationwide strike, a spreading 
walkout against the railroads, was put down with a bloodbath that 
took the lives of scores of workers, their families, and their 
supporters in city slums around the country. The labor movement 
grew and strikes continued to spread in the 1880s and 1890s. The 
Haymarket Square bomb in 1886, the strike at Carnegie's 
Homestead steel mills in 1892, and the Pullman strike in 1894 
were only the most prominent events that made employers and 
their allies fear for the continued existence of their society. "The 
times are strangely out of joint," worried a Kentucky politician. 
"The rich grow richer, the poor become poorer; the nation 

Town folk and farmers, especially in the Midwest and South, 
felt their lives and livelihoods increasingly determined by railroad 
rates and lines of credit from banks directed from distant cities. 
Semi-feudal sharecropping kept large numbers of Southern 
farmers in perpetual debt and poverty. Agrarian opposition to 
capitalist expansion won broad support. In 1896 the growing 

J8 I "Wholesale Philanthropy' 

Populist party formed a shallow coalition with the Democratic 
party around the Democrat Bryan for President and the Populist 
Tom Watson for Vice-President against McKinley, the candidate 
of big business. The Populist party was decimated by their defeat, 
but populist resistance to capitalist wealth and control of agricul- 
ture continued in the Granges and the Farmers Union well into 
the new century. To the middle-class professionals who dominat- 
ed the Progressive movement the society seemed to be breaking 
up below them because of the greed of those above them. They 
called for reforms to Hmit the concentration of power and wealth. 
Many members of the richer class felt called upon to justify 
the great inequality that angered the working class and worried 
the middle class. Naturally they did not see themselves as "idle" 
rich. They viewed their efforts to build industrial empires as 
productive work, and they considered all the people to be the 
beneficiaries of those empires. No one said it as well as 

The best philanthropy, the help that does the most good and the 
least harm, the help that nourishes civilization at its very root, that 
most widely disseminates health, righteousness, and happiness, is 
not what is usually called charity. It is, in my judgment, the 
investment of effort or time or money, carefully considered with 
relation to the power of employing people at a remunerative wage, 
to expand and develop the resources at hand, and to give opportuni- 
ty for progress and healthful labour where it did not exist before. No 
mere money-giving is comparable to this in its lasting and beneficial 

The great benefit of such enterprises is moral, providing 
employment to otherwise idle hands, and material, "to multiply, 
to cheapen, and to diffuse as universally as possible the comforts 
of life."^ Thus, the building up of private industry is the best 
method of solving the problems that historically grew with 
industrialization. "Can there be any doubt that cheapening the 
cost of necessaries and conveniences of life is the most powerful 
agent of civilization and progress?" asked Charles Elliott Perkins, 
president of the Chicago, Burhngton, and Quincy Railroad. "The 
true gospel," Perkins philosophized agreeably, "is to enable men 
to acquire the comforts and conveniences of life by their own 
efforts, and then they will be wise and good."'' 

The class of men and women who provided this largess for the 
rest of society had varied notions about what to do with their 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 19 

money and their power. Mark Hanna, a Cleveland industrialist, 
showed fellow capitalists that the President and executive branch 
of the government, as well as the Congress, could be secured "for 
the protection of our business interests." Fearing the growing 
ranks of Populists and their increasing political strength, he 
established an interlocking political directorate of corporate 
leaders to organize their common interests and bring their 
influence more directly into the federal government. With their 
first Presidential triumph, electing McKinley in 1896, they inau- 
gurated the modern system of expensive, centrally coordinated 
national campaigns. Hanna led the formation of a corporate 
politics that placed the broad class interests of industriahsts and 
financiers ahead of "pork barrel" tactics favoring narrow interests 
that had dominated state, national, and local political scenes. 
Hanna and other leaders of this class put together new aUiances, 
like the National Civic Federation, with some labor leaders to 
create a "harmony of interests" out of the class conflicts that 
threatened the new economic order. The Progressive movement 
proved an ideal vehicle for the business class to assert its interests 
by securing additional, needed capital from the Congress and, 
through reforms in the federal executive branch, creating and 
controlling regulatory agencies to bring order and consolidation 
to a number of industries. The politically wise leaders of this class 
thus demonstrated that with strategic alliances with social reform- 
ers and conservative union officials, the nation's political institu- 
tions could be reformed to serve the needs of the corporate 
order. ^ 

Not all capitalists, however, could see farther than their own 
immediate interests in pohtics. John D. Rockefeller, whose 
Standard Oil Trust was accused by Henry Demarest Lloyd of 
buying out the legislatures and the executive branches of 
Pennsylvania and Ohio, was unenthusiastic about his friend 
Hanna's broader political strategy. Hanna's first major success 
sent John Sherman to the U.S. Senate in 1885, ironically pro- 
viding the author of the very law under which the Standard em- 
pire was eventually broken up. Perhaps Rockefeller suspected 
such betrayals from politicians who had their own visions of what 
was good for business, for he customarily reserved his political 
contributions for candidates closer to the Standard's immediate 
fields of operations.^ 

Many wealthy men spent their fortunes on ostentatious luxury 

20 I "Wholesale Philanthropy* 

that left much of the European aristocracy in shadow. The 
Vanderbilts, Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, and other financiers built 
palaces along New York's Fifth Avenue, many of them with 
marble, furnishings, and statuary scooped up from the crumbling 
baronies of the Old World. Marshall Field and Potter Palmer 
built their castles on some of Chicago's most prized residential 
and lakefront land. Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker, and Leland 
Stanford transformed San Francisco's Nob Hill with their resi- 
dences of splendor, using wealth obtained from promoting and 
governing the westward expansion of the railroads. Carnegie 
bought himself a castle in his Scottish homeland. And Rockefel- 
ler created, not merely a castle, but a royal estate at Pocantico 
Hills, whose 3,500 acres overlooking the Hudson River was five 
times the size of Central Park. The spectacle of such living, 
especially in the midst of tenement-teeming cities, caused con- 
siderable agitation. The Massachusetts Board of Education had 
complained even in 1849, "One gorgeous palace absorbs all 
the labor and expense that might have made a thousand hov- 
els comfortable." By the end of the century, social scientists 
cultivated by the wealthy came to their benefactors' defense. A 
Boston University economics professor retorted to detractors of 
grandeur, "The notion there is necessarily any causal connection 
between opulence and poverty is too crude to require serious 
refutation. "^° 


Some representatives of the opulent class, both before and 
after the Civil War, had a broader sense of purpose. They 
provided luxurious, even princely lives for themselves and their 
families, but they carefully set aside a share of their wealth 
for philanthropy. Philanthropy, of course, did not mean giving 
money directly to the poor. While charity had always implied 
providing alms for the relief of the poor, the rich and most social 
reformers in the class immediately below the rich have always 
been wary of the consequences of giving to the poor. Cotton 
Mather urged colonial Boston merchants to set a disciplined, 
moral example and give only to the "poor that can't work." 
Benjamin Franklin hoped to provide sufficient opportunity in 
society so there would be no need of poverty, and he tried to 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 21 

develop a strategy for getting the poor to adopt disciplined ways 
of living. "I think the best way of doing good to the poor," 
Franklin said, "is not making them easy in poverty, but leading 
them or driving them out of it."^^ 

Franklin's maxim and a pitiless Social Darwinist perspective 
were the heart of the charity organization movement that 
blossomed in the United States during the last three decades of 
the century. Patterned after the London Charity Organization 
Society, founded in 1869, these city and national organizations 
gave few handouts. Their main purpose was, in the words of a 
Philadelphia group, to develop "a method by which idleness and 
begging, now so encouraged, may be suppressed and worthy 
self-respecting poverty be discovered and relieved at the smallest 
cost to the benevolent." Even during the vast depression that 
began in 1873 and lasted until the end of that decade, all takers of 
charity were suspected of slothfulness and degeneracy. ^^ 

The poor were a desperate, volatile lot, given to crime, riots, 
and insolent discontent. Extreme Social Darwinists believed with 
Herbert Spencer that those who are fit to live do so and those 
who are not fit die — "and it is best they should die."'^ But the 
dominant classes of any society need a more positive program 
than that to deal with oppressed classes' articulated demands for 
sharing the wealth or even their inarticulate mayhem. 

The programs that emerged from charity organization work 
brought systematic study and the label of "science" to philan- 
thropic work. The annual meetings of the National Conference 
of Charities and Correction brought together experts from char- 
ity organizations, administrators of penal institutions, hospitals 
and settlement houses, academics from university sociology and 
economics departments, and clergymen and physicians to coordi- 
nate their work and develop strategies for uplifting the poor. The 
attitudes of these "scientific" charity workers ran from harsh to 
refined, punitive to ameliorative.'"* Over the years these reform- 
ers turned increasingly to the analytic methods of the social 
sciences and to the political views of the Progressive movement. 
Edward T. Devine, in his presidential address to the National 
Conference in 1906, noted that inmates were entering charitable 
institutions, insane asylums, prisons, and reformatories "faster 
than all our educational processes, our relief funds, and even our 
consecrated personal service" have been able to rehabilitate 

22 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy" 

them. The role of "modern philanthropy," Devine continued, is 
to "seek out and to strike effectively at those organized forces of 
evil, at those particular causes of dependence and intolerable 
living conditions which are beyond the control of the individuals 
whom they injure and whom they too often destroy. "^^ 

Scientific philanthropy must concern itself with "prevention 
rather than relief," argued Amos Warner, a Stanford economist 
active in the movement. Warner compared statistics compiled 
by charity organizations in the United States and Europe and 
concluded that nearly three-fourths of all poverty is due to per- 
sonal or social "misfortune" and less than a fourth to "miscon- 
duct" on the part of the individual.'^ "Prevention" involved inter- 
vening in the lives of both groups to assist them through their 
misfortune or change their bad habits and lead them onto the 
path of righteousness. 

Out of this social intervention perspective and the charity 
organization movement emerged the social work professions. 
Case workers, settlement house workers, correctional adminis- 
trators, probation officers, and their academic advisers shared 
with the middle and upper classes the prevaiHng Social Darwinist 
view that dependent poverty, crime, and social deviance in 
general had biological roots. But this new professional class 
believed that medical and social intervention could remedy 
"natural" imperfections.'"^ 

Given the disintegration of older social relations and the 
increasing fear of working-class revolt — both products of capital- 
ist industrialization — it is not surprising that wealthy men and 
women supported the goals and programs of the charity organiza- 
tions and the social work movement. Charles Hull, who amassed 
a fortune from Chicago's booming real estate market, gave freely 
to social rehabilitation programs in the slums and sold cheap land 
to the poor to give them a stake in the existing society. It was his 
way of correcting the unequal distribution of land out of which he 
feared "discontent and revolution will come."'^ 

Scorning pity and indiscriminate relief as merely reinforcing 
the poor in their degraded condition, the charity organization 
movement, social work professions, and wealthy benefactors in 
general worked instead to uplift, or rehabilitate the poor. They 
established institutions that would isolate "the poor that can't 
work" and prevent them from infecting "honest," hard-working 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 23 

poor folk. They also developed programs to give the working 
poor a loftier vision of life than could otherwise be gotten from 
the factories and tenements in which they spent their lives. 
Settlement houses and social workers were established in the 
slums and ghettos to integrate the foreign-born into American 
society and to rehabilitate and reintegrate the casualties of an 
industrial society divided into owners and nonowners. Jane 
Addams' settlement house, provided by Charles Hull's estate, 
attempted to fulfill her principal goals to "feed the mind of the 
worker, to lift it above the monotony of his task, and to con- 
nect it with the larger world outside of his immediate sur- 
roundings. ..." Addams opposed the excesses of both capital 
and labor and worked to bring together these warring classes 
through programs acceptable to both.'^ 

Such programs did not suggest that the capitalist social 
structure itself should be altered. Rather they were intended to 
ameliorate the harsh conditions of capitalism by helping individu- 
als escape from its pits and lead both useful and more satisfying 
lives. While many social workers supported union demands, their 
work won financial and political support from the wealthy classes 
because it diverted attention from more militant demands. Social 
workers held out the hope of ameliorating Hving conditions with 
social programs while workers demanded union recognition, 
higher pay, the eight-hour day, and relief from unemployment. 
All these programs proved more symbolic and ideological than 
actually ameliorative. The working poor and the unemployed 
were being taught to blame their own inadequacies for their 
conditions and to work and wait patiently for their individual 

Some capitalists, however, both before and after the Civil 
War, were less concerned with revolt brewing below them or 
were more thoughtful about the future needs of their social 
system. They developed another line of philanthropy that 
centered on creating social institutions whose main functions 
were not even symbolic amelioration but provided for the 
training of personnel needed by industrial capitalism if it was to 
survive and grow. Some of these capitalists, particularly in the 
first half of the nineteenth century, helped to create compulsory 
pubHc schooHng to socialize working-class and poor children to 
the rhythms and cooperative needs of factory work and to give 

24 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy" 

them the rudimentary skills — reading, writing, arithmetic, and 
vocational skills — needed in an industrial society. ^° Other men 
and women of wealth understood the country's need for more 
advanced technical skills. They joined forces with foresighted 
leaders of the nation's traditional colleges, bringing them out of 
the orbit of the old agricultural and merchant ruling class and into 
the service of the ascending industrial and financial order. 


On the last day of April in 1846 Edward Everett, the new 
president of Harvard University, stood before his faculty, 
students, and alumni and inaugurated a new era of cooperation 
between industrialists and America's colleges and universities. 
Harvard would no longer be geared mainly to the needs of the 
agricultural gentry and wealthy merchants, producing educated 
clergy, lawyers, and assorted gentlemen. Everett laid before his 
inaugural convocation a proposal, that Harvard found a "school 
of theoretical and practical science" to teach "its application to 
the arts of life," to furnish a "supply of skillful engineers" and 
other persons who would explore and develop the "inexhaustible 
natural treasures of the country, and to guide its vast industrial 
energies in their rapid development."^^ 

Within a year Abbott Lawrence agreed to underwrite Ever- 
ett's plans. Lawrence's investments in textile manufacturing and 
railroad financing had made him a man of wealth and influ- 
ence in Massachusetts. The industrial revolution in America was 
in its infancy when he began, but now near midcentury its 
potential was proven. Lawrence knew first hand the value of the 
factory system and mechanization in increasing production and 
profits. He saw that railroad construction brought not only profits 
on his investment; it also created a demand for iron production 
and opened up regional and national markets, allowing farmers 
and factory owners to ship their products to distant markets and 
increasing America's exports. "Hard hands are ready to work 
upon our hard materials," he observed. But "where shall 
sagacious heads be taught to direct those hands?"^^ 

To answer his own question and help Harvard realize its 
self-appointed role, Lawrence gave the university the then 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 25 

princely sum of $50,000 to found a school that would apply 
chemistry and other sciences to the needs of agriculture, engi- 
neering, mining and metallurgy, and the "invention and manufac- 
ture of machinery." Thus was the Lawrence Scientific School 
born. Lawrence was so pleased with the new school that he 
bequeathed an additional $50,000 for it which Harvard received 
upon his death in 1855. 

Harvard's school was exemplary of the new relationship 
between science, education, and industrialization. In the nine- 
teenth century, scientists, industrialists, and college presidents 
developed a profitable alliance. The usefulness of science to 
industry, the willingness of industrialists to support scientific 
research, and the opportunity for colleges to train scientists and 
engineers and do much of the research needed by industry 
provided a great deal of common ground. It also opened the door 
for scientists who wanted to make science a full-time occupation 
and distinguish themselves from others who used the knowledge 
and methods of the natural sciences in their work. 

The great inventors of the early industrial revolution were 
mostly practical-minded mechanics, craftsmen, and tinkerers, 
men and women whose lives embraced science through their 
work. "In contrast with modern practice," observes Harry 
Braverman, "science did not systematically lead the way for 
industry, but often lagged behind and grew out of the industrial 
arts."" By the 1830s and 1840s a new group of scientists emerged 
who wanted to be more than "dilettantes." Like their European 
counterparts, whose support and status they envied, the upper 
ranks of American scientists wanted to devote themselves to 
research, but they lacked the necessary financial resources. 
Although young men in America's colleges were taught science, 
there was almost no original research being done in the country. 
As Joseph Henry, the nation's leading physicist, complained, 
"every man who can burn phosphorous in oxygen and exhibit a 
few experiments to a class of young ladies is called a man of 

In 1844 Alexander Dallas Bache, the superintendent of the 
U.S. Coast Survey, told an attentive audience at the country's 
first national scientific congress that America's unoriginal and 
meager science merely aped European science. America's sci- 
ence, he said, had inadequate institutional support, substituted 

26 I "Wholesale Philanthropy' 

teaching for scientific research, was overrun with gentleman 
scientists, and lacked professional scientists. Bache and Henry, 
together with Harvard mathematician Benjamin Peirce, astrono- 
mer Benjamin Gould, chemist Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, zoologist 
Louis Agassiz, and a few other professional scientists fancied 
themselves the nation's sole custodians of science and its develop- 
ment. They aggressively sought support for their research and 
promoted the cause of professional science. In their view, only 
some men were endowed with scientific talent, and only such an 
elite should be entrusted with training, facilities for research, and 
money. As Howard Miller has pointed out, their eHtism won 
them no support from the assertive, democratic populists of 
Andrew Jackson's era." 

These new men of science won increasing support from the 
entrepreneurial fortunes of the captains of industry. Lawrence 
was neither the first nor the last capitalist of the nineteenth 
century to channel his surplus wealth to colleges in order to put 
science at the service of industry. In 1846, with the financial help 
of philanthropists, Yale created two new professorships in 
agricultural and practical chemistry and appointed the eminent 
Benjamin Silliman, Jr., to one of them to develop and teach the 
"application of chemistry, and the kindred sciences to the man- 
ufacturing arts, to exploration of the resources of the country 
and to other practical uses." Silliman's prolific accomplishments 
at Yale included developing the first commercially successful 
method of refining petroleum. Before the Civil War, Joseph Earl 
Sheffield, a New Haven man who made his fortune in Southern 
cotton and in financing Northern railroads and canals, gave the 
strugghng Yale Scientific School a large contribution. The 
university appreciatively renamed the school in honor of its 
benefactor, whose contributions to Yale for applied science 
totaled more than $1 million by the time of his death in 1882.^* 

Perhaps the most symbolic change was the conversion of the 
Reverend Nathan Lord, president of Dartmouth College. As he 
assumed the college presidency in 1828, Lord asserted that 
Dartmouth was not designed for men who were to "engage in 
mercantile, mechanical, or agricultural operations." His strict 
adherence to the classics and to preparing gentlemen, however, 
did not survive several large contributions from wealthy advo- 
cates of appHed sciences and engineering. By the late 1860s Lord 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 27 

eagerly embraced the "necessity now becoming constantly more 
evident of a higher education in the 'practical and useful arts of 
life.' "^' 

Some industrialists and finance capitaHsts, not content with 
the slow and incomplete transformations of the older colleges, 
started their own engineering schools. In 1824 Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, a wealthy landlord farmer who organized and backed 
the construction of the Erie Canal and thereby experienced for 
himself the lack of adequately trained engineers, founded the 
institute that bears his name to teach the "application of experi- 
mental chemistry, philosophy and natural history, to agricul- 
ture, domestic economy, the arts and manufactures."^* Other 
engineering and technical schools were begun around the country 
from fonts of industrial wealth — Cooper Union in New York 
City, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Stevens 
Institute in Hoboken, the Case School of Applied Science in 
Cleveland, the Pratt Institute in New York, and the California 
Institute of Technology, to name a few. 

Philanthropic capitalists left their marks in American higher 
education in other areas besides science. Joseph Wharton, a 
wealthy manufacturer of metals, gave the University of Pennsyl- 
vania some $600,000 for a school of finance and commerce that 
would train the managers, accountants, and leaders of industry 
who would direct the engineers and appHed scientists graduating 
from technical schools. Entirely new universities were founded in 
the 1870s and 1880s by some of the wealthiest men and women in 
the country — ^Johns Hopkins, Tulane, Clark, Vanderbilt, Stan- 
ford, Cornell, and others. 

These educational philanthropists were primarily capitalists 
who disdained the aristocratic pretenses of gentleman farmers 
and the dabblers' and merchants' ignorance of technique. Re- 
membering their own lack of preparation as they began their 
careers, they favored practical educations that would promote 
endeavors like theirs and create a fertile ground from which their 
new society would grow. They also perceived a need for trained 
personnel for the growing industrial and corporate economy. As 
the organizers of factories and other enterprises that employed 
increasing divisions of labor, they preferred to train technically 
skilled managers and reduce the skill levels of their laborers; in 
the words of Abbott Lawrence, let the "hard hands" do the labor 

28 I "Wholesale Philanthropy'' 

and let "sagacious heads" design and direct the labor process. 
Impressed with the utility of applied science, they subsidized 
teaching and research in the natural sciences and engineering, 
and they supported vocational and applied curricula in colleges 
against the prevailing classical education. By the end of the 
century they were delighted with the progress that had been made 
in creating universities and colleges in their own image. And, of 
course, they were glad to have combined this self-interest with an 
appearance of generosity and altruism. 

The entrepreneurial scientists and college presidents made the 
philanthropists' job an easy one. The development of modern 
universities and the founding of professional science in the 
United States were largely the products of elite college presidents 
and men of science inviting captains of industry to recognize the 
importance of their contributions to the nascent industrial and 
corporate society. They asked for and got money for their work, 
their institutions, and themselves. 

Scientists offered their talents and their services to the 
capitalists in return for new laboratories and stipends; they gave 
up to the colleges a degree of autonomy in return for a legitimized 
base of operations, some financial security, and a protected role 
in training new basic and applied scientists as well as conducting 
research. College presidents acted as brokers, eagerly offering 
their services and institutions to capitalists and scientists alike, in 
return for new areas of service that would assure the continued 
relevance and financial security of their institutions under the 
ascending economic order. Their new buildings and endowments 
assured them that they were on the right track. By 1872 
philanthropy accounted for nearly half the $13 miUion income 
received by all the nation's institutions of higher education. ^^ 

The founding of schools, institutes, and universities was quite 
a different tack from giving to charity organization societies and 
creating settlement houses. They were both intended to meet the 
needs of the developing industrial and corporate society, but in 
different ways. One was ameliorative: It tried to compensate for 
the failings of the capitalist social structure. The other was more 
technical and "preventive": Institutions were developed to meet 
the needs of the system for technical expertise and industrial and 
social management. Both were important to the survival and 
expansion of industry as it was organized in capitalist society. 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 29 

There were limitations, however, in the resources and strate- 
gies of both approaches. The social work approach was ameliora- 
tive at a time when most philanthropists were pressing for 
preventive strategies. The founding of universities and institutes, 
which had a preventive character, was limited in two ways. First, 
it often represented an individual action on the part of a 
particular rich man or woman who founded the institution to 
reflect a personal perspective of what was needed. While some of 
them secured the help of visionary university presidents, these 
institutions often reflected too strongly the personalities and 
idiosyncratic views of their founders. Only when governance fell 
to the institution's trustees did it come to reflect a broader 
perspective within the benefactor's class. Thus, the trustees who 
implemented Johns Hopkins' bequest for the founding of a uni- 
versity were able to do what they collectively believed worth- 
while because their broad charter left them free of detailed 
instructions from the deceased benefactor while the endowment 
meant they had "no need of obeying the injunctions of any 
legislature, the beliefs of any religious body, or the clamors of any 
press. "^° Most benefactors, especially those who founded their 
institutions while on this side of their graves, held closer reigns on 
policies and personnel. 

The second Hmitation on the usefulness of the university 
movement among the wealthy was one of scale. Most of the 
founders had fortunes big enough to create only one institution, 
and those who had the wealth to do more nevertheless concen- 
trated their energies and their money in one place. Thus their 
direct influence would come from only one place, and their 
indirect influence would be only as a model. These were often 
powerful forces. Van Rensselaer's institute claimed, by the 
middle of the nineteenth century, that it had produced a majority 
of the country's engineers and naturalists. And the class of 
wealthy university founders was small and often influenced each 
other: Ezra Cornell's new university at Ithaca was admired by 
Leland Stanford, and Stanford's creation in California greatly 
impressed Jonas Clark and his plans for Massachusetts.^' These 
exceptions notwithstanding, the general limitations of individual- 
ism and narrowness of resources reduced the utility of university 
building for corporate capitalism. 

The accolades these "good works" generated didn't mean that 

30 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy" 

philanthropy could not be done better. And certainly the cap- 
italist impulse to believe in perfectability in the organization of 
any enterprise encouraged many philanthropists to look for errors 
and seek a better way. The obvious constraints of ameliorative 
social intervention programs drew most of the criticism. But 
while the create-a-school movement was not criticized explicitly, 
a successor was soon seen on the horizon. At best the univer- 
sities were productive models of capitalist rationality and tech- 
nical modernness in an untamed, competitive marketplace of 
seemingly incompetent educational institutions. Not surprisingly, 
it was the philanthropies created by the kings of oil and steel 
that started American schooling down the same road to vertical 
organization and centralized control that they had created in 
their own industries. 


The growing fortunes of the Carnegies and Rockefellers in 
this country made them prominent symbols of the success as well 
as the inequities of industrial capitaHsm. It was this weighty 
responsibility that led Andrew Carnegie to explain the problems 
associated with great wealth and to lay out the responsibilities 
that came with its possession. In an influential two-part essay 
entitled "Wealth," published in the North American Review in 
1889,^^ Carnegie with a flush of confidence set out a plan for 
assuring continued private accumulation of wealth. "The prob- 
lem of our age," he boldly began, "is the proper administration of 
wealth, that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the 
rich and poor in harmonious relationship." Speaking to a 
receptive audience among the "haves" more than to the truculent 
"have-nots," Carnegie identified the accumulation of wealth as 
the essential factor in the "progress of the race." Whether it be 
"for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter, and, 
therefore, to be accepted and made the best of. It is a waste of 
time to criticize the inevitable," he reassuringly added. 

Though capitalism's "law" of competition "may be sometimes 
hard for the individual, it is best for the race because it insures 
the survival of the fittest in every department," he observed, 
paraphrasing the then widely idolized Herbert Spencer. Further- 
more, it produced great material wealth so that all people lived 
better for it. Society must not only accept; it must welcome "great 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 31 

inequality of environment," specifically the "concentration of 
business, industrial and commercial, in the hands of a few." It is 
not to be regretted that capitalists must "soon be in receipt of 
more revenues than can be judiciously expended upon them- 
selves." It is simply incumbent upon the wealthy to dispose of 
their fortunes wisely. 

They should not, he warned, leave the bulk of their wealth to 
their families, for such legacies undermine the moral integrity of 
the recipients. Nor should the rich man simply bequeath his 
fortune for public purposes because it is morally reprehensible to 
accumulate great wealth and not show either the interest or the 
judgment to spend it wisely. As exciting as Carnegie found his 
money-making career, it had always seemed to him below the 
moral and intellectual world to which he aspired. More than two 
decades before his declarations on wealth, Carnegie had written a 
memo to himself promising to quit business shortly: "To continue 
much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my 
thought wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest 
time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery."" 
Now Carnegie admonished his peers, "The man who dies thus 
rich dies disgraced." 

It is the duty of the wealthy, Carnegie declared in his article, 
"to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as 
trust funds," to do what, "in his judgment," is best for the 
community. The wealthy capitalist is thus a "mere trustee and 
agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his 
superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer" — in a 
word, "doing for them better than they would or could do for 

He then recommended to men and women of substantial 
means seven uses for their surplus wealth, declaring the priorities 
that he followed in the years to come. Topping the list were 
universities, to which Carnegie gave more than $20 million in his 
lifetime. Next were free public Ubraries, which, to Carnegie's 
mind, squared with his goal "to stimulate the best and most 
aspiring poor of the community to further efforts for their own 
improvement." Carnegie contributed 2,811 libraries to communi- 
ties that promised to support them; this most famous of his 
philanthropies consumed more than $60 million of his wealth. 
Carnegie also recommended giving money for medical institu- 
tions, public parks and city beautification, halls for "concerts of 

32 I "Wholesale Philanthropy 

elevating music" and enlightening lectures, swimming baths, 
and — last — church buildings. ^"^ 

Carnegie's round face glowed and his eyes sparkled as he 
received the adulation of wealthy admirers and fawning suppli- 
cants. Gladstone sanctified Carnegie's proposals with a review of 
his article in the prestigious British magazine Nineteenth Century, 
criticizing only Carnegie's condemnation of inherited wealth. 
From his celebrated position, Carnegie dismissed the critical 
reviews of his article. The Reverend Hugh Price Hughes, a prom- 
inent Methodist minister and Christian populist, condemned 
this new "Gospel of Wealth," as it had come to be called. "Mr. 
Carnegie's 'progress' is accompanied by the growing 'poverty' 
of his less fortunate fellow-countrymen," he wrote. William 
Jewett Tucker, a Uberal theologian and later president of Dart- 
mouth College, pointed out that the assumption "that wealth is 
the inevitable possession of the few, and is best administered by 
them for the many, begs the whole question of economic justice 
now before society." "I can conceive of no greater mistake," 
Tucker protested, "than that of trying to make charity do the 
work of justice. "^^ 

Carnegie's giving never aimed at justice; his goal was "to lead 
people upward." Like his politics, Carnegie's philanthropy was a 
mixture of moraUstic programs to civilize the masses, impulsive 
decisions, and sentimentaHty. Libraries, institutes, concert halls, 
and church organs — 7,689 organs costing more than $6 million — 
were given to uplift the poor and working classes. In 1904 he 
provided more than $10 miUion for the Carnegie Hero Fund to 
honor men and women who are injured or killed while trying 
to save their fellows; medals were presented to the hero, or his 
or her surviving family, and occasionally monetary grants, to 
encourage the masses to follow examples set by "the heroes of 
civilization." Carnegie also provided his birthplace of Dun- 
fermline, Scotland, with a $3.75 million fund for parks, recrea- 
tion, and general beautification.^^ 


Like Carnegie, John Davison Rockefeller's interest in finan- 
cial benevolence antedates his most famous philanthropies. From 
the time of his youth. Rockefeller's life consisted of work, family, 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 33 

and the Baptist church. More like his pious mother than his genial 
and impulsive father, Rockefeller lived a disciplined life, forever 
pinching pennies but mindful of his Christian duties. Even in 
1855, when he was earning $3.50 a week as a clerk accountant in 
Cleveland, Rockefeller carefully apportioned about 10 percent of 
his income to charities and church work. His philanthropy grew 
with his riches; by 1881 he was giving away more than $60,000 a 
year.^^ By the end of the century, he and Carnegie were com- 
peting in their philanthropy — with Carnegie ahead. 

Rockefeller was diligent in giving to charity but ungenerous in 
spirit. Like other men of his day climbing the ladders of business 
success and those who had reached the top. Rockefeller saw no 
excuse for poverty. Having gone into business for himself at the 
age of twenty, the oil king "knew" that hard work and discipUned 
living were the means to escape poverty. In 1887 Rockefeller 
answered a poor young man's plea for fifty dollars with a check, a 
request for an I.O.U. , and a warning: "It will be injurious for him 
to receive from others what he can in any way secure for himself 
by his own efforts." And after a visit to a "house of industry" in 
New York's incomparable slum of Five Points, he complained 
that although the institution gave free meals to the area's 
"tramps" only on Thanksgiving Day, he "would give them work 
and make them earn their food."^^ 

Whereas Carnegie's secular views led him to Social Darwin- 
ism as a biological and social explanation for the maldistribution 
of wealth, Rockefeller's religion exorcised all self-doubts. Partic- 
ularly as he grew older and more comfortable with his fortune 
and his role as philanthropist, Rockefeller came to believe that 
"God gave me my money." When he uttered these words in 1905, 
"Rockefeller" was not the most revered name in North America. 
He thus felt called upon to explain: "I believe the power to make 
money is a gift from God ... to be developed and used to the 
best of our ability for the good of mankind. I believe it is my duty 
to make money and still more money and to use the money I 
make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of 
my conscience. "^^ 

Rockefeller's conscience led him to heap great benevolence 
on a wide range of socially uplifting charities. Andrew Carnegie 
put churches last on his list of recommended philanthropies, but 
for Rockefeller the Baptist church and its numerous charities and 
missions were the highest priority. Hospitals and other public 

34 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy' 

welfare charities were also favorites. He hoped his contributions 
would enable the denomination to lead all people to live with 
rectitude and to aid the fallen poor to gain the proper path. In 
1890 Rockefeller's contributions to charities and colleges topped 
$300,000, and the next year half a million dollars. 

But in May 1889, one month before Carnegie published the 
first of his two-part "Gospel of Wealth," Rockefeller committed 
himself to a particularly ambitious philanthropic project and a 
relationship with a man who was to write a new chapter in 
philanthropy. For several years a group of Baptists in the East 
and another group in the West had been trying to develop a new 
seminary and university for the denomination. The eastern group 
wanted the institution to be located in New York while the other 
group desperately hoped to develop it in Chicago, the rapidly 
growing metropolis of the nation's westward expansion. Both 
groups were pressing Rockefeller, the richest Baptist in the 
world, to contribute the millions needed to endow a first-rate 
institution. While interested in such a project, Rockefeller was 
not swayed by the emotionalism of either group's appeal. "^^ 

The strugghng academies, seminaries, and colleges of the 
denomination met in Washington in May 1888 to form the 
American Baptist Education Society, to raise money for Baptist 
education, and to coordinate its development. They named the 
fast-rising Reverend Frederick T. Gates executive secretary, a 
position from which he leaped to the pinnacle of both philan- 
thropic and corporate power. 

Gates immediately conducted a survey of Baptist educational 
needs throughout the country. Armed with his data, he wrote a 
detailed and eloquent report. Gates demonstrated that nearly 
half the country's Baptists lived west of Pennsylvania and north of 
the Ohio River but that the denomination's educational facilities 
in this region were practically worthless. He concluded that a new 
Baptist university should be built "on the ruins of the old 
University of Chicago," a weak and by then bankrupt denomina- 
tional institution. While the new university should bring together 
the most capable specialists in both its classical and scientific 
departments, it must be "an institution wholly under Baptist 
control as a chartered right, loyal to Christ and His church, 
employing none but Christians in any department of instruction, 
a school not only evangelical but evangelistic.'"*' 

Gates' report was the turning point in the denomination's 

''Wholesale Philanthropy" I 35 

campaign for a university. As he himself put it, "The brothers 
were 'all torn up' over it." The Chicago proponents coalesced 
around the report, and the dwindhng supporters of a New York 
location became even more emotional in their desperate appeals 
to Rockefeller. The Education Society executive board unani- 
mously approved the proposal at the December 1888 meeting. 
Within six months Gates won Rockefeller's approval and an 
initial gift of $600,000 that soon became a torrent of support, 
totaling $35 million in the next twenty-one years. Rockefeller was 
so impressed with Gates that he wrote University of Chicago 
president Harper in 1889, "I have made up my mind to act in my 
educational benefactions through the American Baptist Educa- 
tion Society. '"^^ 

Rockefeller, worn out by his total immersion in business since 
the age of twenty, was a physical wreck as he entered his fifties in 
1889. He suffered increasingly from nervous fatigue and stomach 
ailments. He soon lost all his hair, including his eyebrows, 
because of a nervous disease, generalized alopecia. His doctors 
had warned him to reduce his activities as much as possible, but 
his responsibihties were mounting. Although Standard Oil was 
now in the hands of experienced and trusted lieutenants, there 
was an increasing flow of requests for large and small portions of 
his wealth from churches, missionary societies, hospitals, colleg- 
es, charity organizations, and individuals — once running as high 
as 50,000 requests in a single month. "^^ 

In March 1891 Rockefeller sat Gates down and laid out his 

I am in trouble, Mr. Gates. The pressure of these appeals for gifts 
has become too great for endurance. I haven't the time or strength, 
with all my heavy business responsibilities, to deal with these 
demands properly. I am so constituted as to be unable to give away 
money with any satisfaction until I have made the most careful 
inquiry as to the worthiness of the cause. These investigations are 
now taking more of my time and energy than the Standard Oil itself. 
Either I must shift part of the burden, or stop giving entirely. And I 
cannot do the latter.'*'* 

"Indeed you cannot, Mr. Rockefeller," replied Gates, listen- 
ing with great care and at the same time anticipating the 
benefactor's point. 

"Well, I must have a helper," Rockefeller continued. "I have 

36 I "Wholesale Philanthropy" 

been watching you. I think you are the man. I want you to come 
to New York and open an office here. You can aid me in my 
benefactions by taking interviews and inquiries, and reporting the 
results for action. What do you say?" 

Fervently aware of the wealth and power that would rest in his 
hands to use on behalf of all the things he believed important, 
Gates accepted without the slightest hesitation. He thus began a 
relationship with Rockefeller that transformed the world's larg- 
est fortune into the most strategically applied philanthropy, 
estabhshing principles, methods, and directions that were soon 
emulated by other philanthropists and continued through the 
next two generations of the Rockefeller dynasty. The numerous 
medical and public health programs would become the central 
part of Gates' strategy. 

In September 1891, Gates took an office in the Temple Court 
Building in New York City, not far from Rockefeller's Standard 
Oil offices at 26 Broadway. He continued his work for the 
Education Society even while he took charge of Rockefeller's 
philanthropy. The supplicants who hounded Rockefeller "almost 
like a wild animal" were sent to Gates' office. "I did my best to 
soothe ruffled feeUngs, to listen fully to every plea, and to weigh 
fairly the merits of every cause," Gates recalled of his days at 
Temple Court. "^^ 

With the same systematic thoroughness that marked his 
report for the Education Society, Gates investigated each request 
that came his way. "I found not a few of Mr. Rockefeller's 
habitual charities to be worthless and practically fraudulent. But 
on the other hand I gradually developed and introduced into all 
his charities the principle of scientific giving, and he found 
himself in no long time laying aside retail giving almost wholly, 
and entering safely and pleasurably into the field of wholesale 

Gates' first act on behalf of "wholesale philanthropy" was to 
increase Rockefeller's contributions to state and regional Baptist 
agencies and cut off contributions to individual churches, mis- 
sions, and charity organizations. By forcing every church and 
mission to get their aid from centralized denominational boards, 
Gates increased the latter's power over the far-flung flock.'*'' 

Not long after he moved to New York, Gates took charge of 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 37 

Rockefeller's many investments outside the Standard companies. 
As with his charities, Rockefeller always intended to check on his 
investments thoroughly before buying into them. Often he was 
persuaded by acquaintances to invest in a project or industry they 
assured him would pay off handsomely. Most of the immense 
"surplus" wealth that Rockefeller was taking out of oil he was 
putting, not into charity, but into "a good many different in- 
dustries." By 1893 he had accumulated, besides the Standard, 
sixty-seven major investments, valued at $23 million, in railroads, 
mining, manufacturing, and banks. "It occurred to me," Rocke- 
feller later recalled, "that Mr. Gates, who had a great store of 
common sense, though no especial technical information about 
factories and mills, might aid me in securing some first-hand 
information as to how these concerns were actually prospering." 
He asked Gates to investigate some of these investments when he 
happened to be in the area on Education Society business."^* 

Gates checked on several of Rockefeller's distant stakes: an 
immense land speculation scheme in the Pacific Northwest that 
two fellow parishioners of Rockefeller's Fifth Avenue Baptist 
church had persuaded the oil baron to invest in; a $600,000 
investment in a West Superior, Wisconsin, steel mill and land 
speculation fraud, recommended by the same brethren; and a 
smaller iron furnace in Alabama. Gates demonstrated his varied 
abilities and singular value to his employer. "His report was a 
model of what such a report should be," Rockefeller remarked 
with uncharacteristic praise. "It stated the facts, and in this case 
they were almost all unfavourable." One investment that Rocke- 
feller thought was earning $1,000 a day was instead losing that 

One more investigation by Gates, of some reputedly rich gold 
mines in Colorado that turned out to be a complete fraud, settled 
the matter for Rockefeller. His income was now upwards of $10 
million a year, he was physically and emotionally coming apart at 
the seams, and he desperately needed a heutenant in whom he 
could place complete confidence. He asked Gates to drop his 
office in the Temple Court Building and share his private offices 
at 26 Broadway. "That," wrote Gates, "is how I came to be a 
businessman. "^° 

38 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy" 



It is not surprising that Gates should be such an appeahng 
assistant in both philanthropy and finance. Although he graduat- 
ed from the Baptist-controlled Rochester University and the 
Baptist seminary in Rochester and then spent eight years in the 
ministry, Gates was at heart a businessman in spiritual clothing. 
As he himself said in his autobiography, 

Much of my life has been in fact an unconscious preparation for 
successful business. My interesting experience in selling harrows, 
my months as a clerk in a country store, and as cashier of a country 
bank, my interest in my father's financial affairs and the ways and 
means of paying our debts, my studies of political economy under 
Doctor Anderson [at Rochester], my close study of the finances of 
our church building in Minneapolis, a habit of looking at things in 
their financial tendencies and relations, my study of denominational 
finances at home and abroad, all these things had given me a 
business experience and my mind a financial turn.*' 

Gates was nearly thirty-eight years old when he went to work 
for Rockefeller. His early years were spent in rural poverty. His 
father had studied medicine but turned to the Baptist ministry for 
his life's work. The elder Gates' successive congregations were 
mainly poor farmers in rural New York; his family shared that 
poverty which bred at least part of Frederick's determination to 
leave it behind in his own life. When the family moved to Forest 
City, Kansas, Frederick began but had to quit high school and 
then taught school to earn money to help his family pay off the 
accumulating debt on their farm." Through high school and 
college jobs Gates worked with his characteristic diligence and 
energy and discovered how much he pleased his employers. His 
shrewd salesmanship earned him $1,500 for selling harrows. 
Gates was developing a sense of where his ambition might 
eventually take him. 

Young Gates' experiences with religion were as important in 
shaping his future life as were his experiences with poverty. "The 
best that religion had to offer me as a boy," he wrote near the end 
of his life, "was death and heaven, the very things I most 
dreaded — being a normal, healthy boy." With his teaching job 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 39 

Gates developed a strong attraction to the intellectual and 
personal elements of religion, though his conversion was not an 
emotional one. He found Christ's social and moral teachings very 
attractive: "I was drawn to his person and character, and feh that 
throughout my life I wanted to side with him and his friends 
against the world and his enemies. Such, frankly, was the only 
'conversion' I ever had." 

He found his seminary training so academic as to leave him 
poorly prepared for ministerial work. He dispensed with the 
philosophical idealism the seminary had cultivated, and from his 
own reading, his life experiences, and examination of the econ- 
omic and social issues affecting his congregation. Gates took 
up a pragmatic philosophy that was more in keeping with his 
personality and his ambition. His fund-raising work for his poor 
parish in Minneapolis and his less solemn, more modern sermons 
attracted a bigger congregation and with it, more wealth. 

One day George Pillsbury, whose flour fortune made him the 
wealthiest Baptist in the Northwest, asked Gates' advice in 
making up his will and especially in leaving $200,000 to a Baptist 
school. Pillsbury was very pleased with Gates' suggestion that he 
immediately give $50,000 to the school on the condition that the 
denomination in Minnesota raise an equal amount — to assure 
their committed interest in it — and that he bequeath another 
$150,000 to the school in his will. Baptist leaders were also 
pleased and commissioned Gates to raise their $50,000 share of 
the funds. Gates resigned his pastorate and took up the chal- 
lenge. So effective were his methods of button-holing Baptists in 
the state that he had soon raised $60,000." Gates knew he had 
found his calling! 

He developed a number of rules for fund raising which he 
learned "mostly on the pastorate" and a couple of years later 
wrote them down at the request of his admirers in the trade. 
Dress well, act in a dignified manner, pretend the visit will be a 
short one, be good-natured, and "keep your victim also 
good-natured. . . . Let him feel that he is giving it, not that it is 
being taken from him with violence." Rule number 7 he followed 
unswervingly through his nearly four decades of service to 
Rockefeller: "Appeal only to the noblest motives. His own mind 
will suggest to him the lower and selfish ones. But he will not wish 
you to suppose that he has thought of them. He wishes you to 

40 I "Wholesale Philanthropy 

believe him to be giving only from the highest motives."^"* In a 
few years Gates rose from pastor of an average Baptist congrega- 
tion in Minneapolis, to a statewide position with the denomina- 
tion in Minnesota, to chief officer of the Baptists' national 
Education Society, to the side of Mr. Rockefeller himself, 
administering a panoply of investments and an immense philan- 

As soon as he joined Rockefeller's private office to manage 
his finances. Gates began a meticulous evaluation of all Rockefel- 
ler's holdings outside the Standard Trust. He was given a free 
hand in reorganizing investments and corporations alike and was 
provided with assistants, credit, and confidential information. "I 
had every needed tool," Gates remembered, "and the machinery 
was well oiled and without the least friction. No man of serious 
business responsibilities ever had a happier business life than I. 
No man was ever furnished with more of the external elements of 
success, or given better opportunities." In some companies Gates 
bought enough stock to take control and put in management 
acceptable to him and Rockefeller. Other investments were sold 
off completely. In the end. Gates was made president of thirteen 
corporations in which Rockefeller now had a controlling interest. 
He added sizeable chunks to Rockefeller's geometrically increas- 
ing fortune, the grandest chunk being the $55 million profit Gates 
made on selling the Mesabi iron ore range and associated 
industries that he had developed. ^^ 

Although Gates came to Rockefeller's employment a poor 
man, he soon remedied this unfortunate condition. While 
executive secretary of the Baptist Education Society, Gates was 
paid a then-respectable income of $2,500 a year. When he moved 
East and opened an office in the Temple Court Building, 
Rockefeller added $1,500 to his income. His added responsibili- 
ties led to annual increases in salary "always paid by the 
corporations which I managed," until after ten years with 
Rockefeller he was getting a salary of $30,000, a very good 
income in the first decade of this century. Out of his earnings 
Gates and his wife had saved enough to pay for their Montclair, 
N.J., home and had invested some $60,000 in the companies he 
had organized and managed for Rockefeller. That small invest- 
ment brought him more than $500,000 when he sold his shares in 
1902. "Prudent investments with few losses gradually increased 

''Wholesale Philanthropy" I 41 

this sum." In 1916 Gates began converting all his investments into 
then-rising and profitable bank stocks and encouraged Rockefel- 
ler to do the same, recommending especially the Chase National 
Bank, which was paying dividends of 20 percent on invested 
capital. By the time of his death in 1929 Gates was a wealthy man 
though, needless to say, his fortune fell far short of his employ- 

Though Rockefeller never paid direct compliments to any 
person, he more than once recorded his appreciation of Gates' 
"phenomenal business ability." In response to a reporter's 
question, "Who is the greatest of all the business men you have 
known?" Rockefeller heaped warm praise on Gates. "He 
combines business skill and philanthropic aptitude to a higher 
degree than any other man I have ever known. "^"^ Though Gates 
was involved with Rockefeller's finances in important ways, his 
organization of Rockefeller's philanthropies, and especially the 
medical programs, makes him historically significant. 

In 1897, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., graduated from Brown 
University and was cautiously trying to find a place for himself in 
a world preempted by his father. His hereditary position in the 
world of industry and finance left him little room for any 
achievement that he could call his own. His own name was 
inseparable from his father's, who was perhaps the most vilified 
of all the great robber barons. The one area in which he might 
stake out new ground and at the same time help clear the family 
name was philanthropy. And thus he entered his father's private 
offices at 26 Broadway, an imperium presided over by the 
Reverend Gates. ^^ 

With difficulty Gates and "Mr. Rockefeller, Junior" devel- 
oped a working relationship. Junior was then twenty-three years 
old, inexperienced, and reserved to the point of shyness. Gates, 
twenty years his senior, did not hide his self-confidence derived 
from varied experience and personal achievement; he was 
ebullient. Nevertheless, Junior learned from Gates and from his 
own successes and failures and built an independent role for 
himself in both philanthropy and finance. For his part, Gates 
learned to tolerate this scion of the man he worked for and truly 
respected. Gates considered Junior "diligent" but unimaginative. 
"He was home-made and hand-trained," he recalled disdainfully. 
Rockefeller, Sr., had found, as his biographer Allan Nevins 

42 I "Wholesale Philanthropy" 

observed, "just the combination of qualities he needed: Gates 
endowed primarily with imagination, fire, and vision, the son 
endowed primarily with hard sense, caution, public spirit, and 

Gates and Junior investigated new lines of philanthropy and 
the value of Senior's investments, bringing major proposals for 
action on both to the financier for final decisions. Gates wrote 
his views in eloquent reports; Junior relied on oral persuasion. 
"Gates was the brilliant dreamer and creator," Junior recalled 
years later. "I was the salesman — the go-between with Father at 
the opportune moment." Senior seldom jumped into any new 
venture. "I'll let the idea simmer," he often told his son and 
Gates. Then weeks, months, or even years later, moved by 
considerations inscrutable to his assistants, he was ready to act.^° 

Gates was also quite a contrast to his employer. As Raymond 
Fosdick, president of the Rockefeller Foundation for more than a 
decade, revealed: 

Mr. Gates was a vivid, outspoken, self- revealing personality who 
brought an immense gusto to his work; Mr. Rockefeller was quiet, 
cool, taciturn about his thoughts and purposes, almost stoic in his 
repression. Mr. Gates had an eloquence which could be passionate 
when he was aroused; Mr. Rockefeller, when he spoke at all, spoke 
in a slow measured fashion, lucidly and penetratingly, but without 
raising his voice and without gestures. Mr. Gates was overwhelming 
and sometimes overbearing in argument; Mr. Rockefeller was a 
man of infinite patience who never showed irritation or spoke 
chidingly about anybody. 


From this triumvirate came the influential philanthropies that 
asserted extraordinary leadership in shaping the social, econom- 
ic, and political order of the twentieth century. Rockefeller, the 
individualistic captain of industry from the rough-and-tumble old 
order that was being transformed at the turn of the century, 
supplied the money but left the directing to his heutenants. 
Gates, the transition figure from unbridled individualism to the 
discipline of the corporation, provided systematic methods and a 
rudimentary strategy for asserting corporate capitalism's needs 
for supportive social institutions. Junior, emerging gradually as 
the nation's foremost representative of modernism in corporate 
relations with labor and the public, brought a refinement and 
sensitivity to the philanthropic work being developed by Gates. 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 43 

The programs and strategies that emerged from this center of 
financial power had an enormous impact, especially on medical 
care and health systems in the United States and throughout the 


Gates shared Carnegie's fears that excessive hereditary wealth 
diminishes individual initiative and achievement, that it saps the 
participation of its bearer in the social and economic processes 
that make society strong. "Your fortune is rolling up, rolling up 
like an avalanche!" he warned Rockefeller. "You must keep up 
with it! You must distribute it faster than it grows! If you do not, 
it will crush you, and your children, and your children's chil- 

Having acquired the fortune, it fell to Rockefeller and his 
associates to maintain it as a trust for the people, just as Carnegie 
had advocated. "It is the duty of men of means," Rockefeller 
wrote early in this century, "to maintain the title to their property 
and to administer their funds until some man, or body of men, 
shall rise up capable of administering for the general good the 
capital of the country better than they can." In his view, neither 
experiences with state and national legislatures nor "schemes of 
socialism" offered any promise that "wealth would be more wise- 
ly administered for the general good" than it was by its private 
owners. ^'^ 

Since the owners of capital were mortal men, it was incum- 
bent on them to provide some ongoing trust to see that their 
wealth would be used wisely even after they passed from the 
scene. There was nothing new in this concept as understood by 
the Rockefellers as they launched their first grant-giving founda- 
tion, the General Education Board, to aid Southern education. 
Charitable trusts independent of the state and the church have 
had legal status in Anglo-Saxon law since the "statute of 
charitable uses" was enacted by Queen Elizabeth in 160L Most 
of these, however, had been narrowly prescribed uses — endowing 
a particular hospital, giving relief to wayward girls in Brooklyn, 
and providing scholarships for young men entering mechanical 
engineering at a particular college.* 


44 I "Wholesale Philanthropy" 

However, there were a few precedents that greatly influenced 
the creation of the General Education Board, providing the first 
of its strategic philanthropic programs aimed at transforming 
major social institutions. At the close of the Civil War, 
merchant-banker George Peabody provided $2 million for a 
Southern education fund. The war had left the South in ruins 
and its schools destroyed or otherwise defunct; a generation of 
Southerners was growing up uneducated and essentially illiterate. 
The Peabody Education Fund hired Barnas Sears, the president 
of Brown University, to set up a grant program to help schools 
that were run and generally supported by Southerners. Sears was 
succeeded by Jabez L. M. Curry, a Confederate politician and 
planter from Alabama, who had saved his land from confiscation 
after the Civil War by swearing allegiance to the United States. ^^ 

The Peabody Fund set an example for John F. Slater, a textile 
manufacturer from Connecticut, who endowed a $1 million fund 
in 1882 to educate Southern blacks. By the end of the nineteenth 
century increasing numbers of Northern businessmen and South- 
ern reformers were coalescing around the need to develop 
Southern schools in general and educate Southern blacks in 
particular. The South was not only economically and educational- 
ly undeveloped; it was the section of the country from which 
militant populism still received its widest political support, 
threatening the ambitions of Southern Hberal reformers and 
Northern conservative businessmen who wanted to "modernize" 
and industrialize the region. In 1899 these leaders organized the 
first of several Conferences for Southern Education. ^^ 

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was a guest at the third conference 
in 1901. Robert C. Ogden, a partner of John Wanamaker and 
general manager of their New York department store, chartered 
a special train, dubbed the "millionaires' special" by hostile 
Southern newspapers, to bring Northern businessmen on a tour 
of Southern black schools and then to a conference with Southern 
activists in the cause. Junior and the other guests visited the 
Hampton and Tuskegee institutes and other schools and ended 
their tour with a meeting in Winston-Salem. This conference 
established a permanent organization called the Southern Educa- 
tion Board (SEB) to raise money among Northerners, assume 
formal leadership of the campaign to develop Southern schools, 
and conduct propaganda on its behalf. Though the board's 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 45 

budget was low — not more than $40,000 a year — and they never 
gave grants as the Peabody and Slater funds were doing, the SEB 
hired agents to carry their campaign to influential Southerners 
and state legislatures.^* 

Like the Peabody and Slater funds, essentially combined 
under the leadership of their chief agent J. L, M. Curry, the 
Southern Education Board unanimously supported only "indus- 
trial education" for blacks. Schools organized around this model 
taught the rudiments of Hteracy and emphasized industrial and 
agricultural skills, disciplined work, thrift, and right living. 
Hampton Institute, whose chief trustee was Ogden and whose 
principal was fellow SEB member HoUis Frissell, was the pro- 
totype of industrial schools for blacks. Booker T. Washington, 
an early graduate of Hampton, founded a similar school at 
Tuskegee, Alabama, and became the country's chief black pro- 
ponent of the graduahst strategy of racial progress. For half a 
century this model of education guided the work of the move- 
ment for compulsory schooling, and now it was the centerpiece of 
the progressive education movement, sweeping educators and 
businessmen alike into a national educational reform campaign.*^ 

Northern and Southern businessmen were enthusiastic. "Ev- 
ery element for success exists in the South," the Manufacturers' 
Record declared in support, 

in raw material, in climate, in the forces of Nature, and above all, in 
an abundant supply of labor, which when properly trained and dis- 
ciplined will be the main reliance of the South in the future for its 
prosperity. It only remains for the South to do its duty to its black 
population by way of training and educating in the simple manual 

With the support of Northern money, the industrial schools 
flourished and the few genuine colleges for blacks struggled under 
their less than benign neglect. The Southern Education Board 
and its allies won grudging acceptance of schools for blacks from 
Southern white supremacist poHtical leaders, and in return 
Northern members of the SEB campaigned in the North for 
acceptance of black disfranchisement and Jim Crow laws as the 
best way to progress for blacks. "The white people are to be the 
leaders, to take the initiative, to have the directive control of all 
matters pertaining to civilization and the highest interests of our 

46 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy'' 

beloved land," Curry, former Confederate officer and now chief 
of staff of the Southern campaign, brazenly proclaimed. "This 
white supremacy does not mean hostility to the Negro, but 
friendship for him."^' 

For John D. Rockefeller, Jr., his 1901 tour and conference in 
the South were "one of the outstanding events in my life." Filled 
with a sense of mission. Junior discussed the new Southern 
Education Board and its program with his father. Gates, his 
friend Morris K. Jessup, and Dr. Wallace Buttrick, the portly and 
jovial secretary of the Baptist Home Mission Society, who also 
attended the conference and was now a member of the SEB. A 
small group was formed to develop an ambitious project in 
support of the Southern work. In January 1902, they outlined a 
munificent philanthropic enterprise. In February an expanded 
group met for dinner at Junior's house and worked through the 
evening. Junior announced a pledge he had secured from his 
father for $1 million to spend over the next ten years, the first and 
smallest of many gifts to come. They formed a board of trustees 
to oversee the expenditures and appointed Buttrick executive 
secretary.''^ "The South with its varied resources and products," 
their memorandum of agreement observed, "has immense indus- 
trial potentialities, and its prosperous future will be assured with 
the right kind of education and training for its children of both 
races. "''^ 

The General Education Board was announced to the press. 
"The object of this association," they explained, "is to provide a 
vehicle through which capitalists of the North who sincerely 
desire to assist in the great work of Southern education may act 
with assurance that their money will be wisely used."^"* 

The General Education Board (GEB), with its large re- 
sources, quickly became the locus of leadership in the Southern 
campaign. At its first meeting in 1901 the Southern Education 
Board had arranged a "community of interest" with the Peabody 
and Slater funds. By 1903, according to Southern board member 
Frissell, "the Peabody and Slater boards are now acting very 
largely through the General Education Board." In fact a more 
interlocking directorate could not be found, even among the 
Standard Oil companies. Several trustees of the Slater and 
Peabody boards were trustees of the GEB. Curry was a member 
or agent of all four funds. Buttrick was a member of the Southern 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 47 

board, executive secretary of the GEB, and from 1903 to 1910 he 
was an agent of the Slater Fund — and so on.''' 

While the General Education Board developed other pro- 
grams over the next several decades, medical ones prominently 
among them, their work in the South remained important and 
never deviated substantially from their original perspective. Over 
the years the GEB wo.^ked to make all schools "more responsive 
to our social, economic, and professional needs." The black 
population's role in society was clear. The board beUeved "the 
Negro must be educated and trained . . . that he may be more 
sober, more industrious, more competent." When the GEB 
finally came to support full-fledged colleges for blacks, it was not 
because their general outlook on race relations had changed. 
College training would be "provided for carefully selected 
Negroes" who will "lead the race in its efforts to educate and 
improve itself." The black's leaders "must be trained, so that, 
looking to them for guidance as he does, he may be as well guided 
as possible."''^ 

The GEB was not concerned only with education of blacks. It 
worked to build up high schools for whites and for blacks 
throughout the South. Always with an eye to creating "local 
responsibility for self-help" — what Gates called the "foundation 
of character and social life itself" — the board's strategy was to 
stimulate and organize community support for school taxes. The 
GEB got each state university to create a professorship for 
secondary education. Then with the university's approval, the 
board defined the duties of the position and named the person to 
be hired and, in return, paid the person's salary and all his 
expenses. The main function of this professor was not to teach 
but to organize. He would visit the towns of his state — "as an 
officer of the university, laden with its wisdom and its moral 
authority" — and develop and channel local support for high 
schools and taxes to support them. At the end of two decades of 
work, the GEB had spent a little over $3 million promoting public 
schools in the rural and urban South. They considered the plan 
effective "beyond our most sanguine anticipations" and took 
considerable credit for the 2,000 new high schools built in that 
period at a cost of $60 million, for which annual appropriations in 
the Southern states increased from $1.7 million in 1905 to $15 
million in 1922 — "all raised by local taxation."^'' 

48 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy' 

The public schools program of the GEB led to a farm 
demonstration program run for the board by Seaman Knapp and 
then to the first of a long tradition of public health programs 
conducted by the Rockefeller foundations. Rooted in the same 
concern for Southern economic and social development that 
guided the public schools program, the public health programs, at 
first in the Southern states and then exported around the world, 
became important supports for the growing domination by U.S. 
capital, trade, and military power. ''^ Gates, a charter member of 
the GEB and its chairman from 1907 to 1917, was the eloquent 
orator and, in Junior's words, "the brilliant dreamer and creator" 
of most of these programs. 

The permanence of the General Education Board was assured 
with a broad congressional charter, dedicating the new founda- 
tion to "the promotion of education within the United States." 
Senator Nelson Aldrich, Junior's father-in-law and a powerful 
representative of business in Washington, "took the bill into his 
own hands and put it through in record time." It was officially 
chartered in January 1903, a year after it began its first Southern 
program, yet the most influential work of the GEB was yet to 

Gates took into his own bosom the worries about Rockefel- 
ler's still-growing fortune. "I have lived with this great fortune of 
yours daily for fifteen years," he wrote his employer in 1905. "To 
it, its increase and its uses, I have given every thought, until it has 
become a part of myself, almost as if it were my own."*° 

Recognizing the mortahty that all persons must face, Gates 
laid out the alternatives to Rockefeller. "One is that you and your 
children, while living, shall make final and complete disposition 
of this great trust, for the good of mankind. The other is that you 
shall not do this, but shall hand it down to unborn generations, 
for them to decide how this trust shall finally be discharged for 

For Gates, embracing Carnegie's "Gospel" and fearing the 
"powerful tendencies to social demoralization" of inherited 
wealth, the first alternative was the only moral one. He proposed 
that Rockefeller decide what major lines of work for "human 
progress" he wanted to serve and who should administer the 
funds and then create an endowment "to provide funds in 
perpetuity, under competent management, with proper provision 
for succession." 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 49 

Gates then suggested several funds for different areas of 
work — ''a great fund for the promotion of a system of higher 
education in the United States, ... a fund for the promotion of 
medical research throughout the world, ... a fund for the 
promotion of the fine arts," and more. 'These funds should be so 
large that to become a trustee of one of them is to make a man at 
once a public character." The work of these enterprises should 
employ "the best talent of the entire human race." 

Junior followed this letter with his own enthusiastic endorse- 
ment of Gates' proposal. Within two weeks Rockefeller, Sr., 
gave the General Education Board $10 million and followed that 
a year and a half later with another $32 million. By 1921 
Rockefeller's gifts to the GEB totaled more than $129 million. 
Larger and more numerous endowments began to flow to the 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, fathered by Gates 
from his employer's fortune in 1901, and soon discussions began 
that led from Gates' 1905 letter to the creation of a much larger 
and broader fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, to which Senior 
gave more than $182 million. 

It is not so clear that Gates' only concern in recommending 
that Rockefeller himself dispose of his fortune was the danger of 
inherited wealth to its possessors. The notoriety that accrued to 
Rockefeller and other robber barons along with their profits cast 
a long shadow on the future of wealth, and the Rockefellers felt 
the chill as much as anyone. Henry Demarest Lloyd, in Wealth 
Against Commonwealth published in 1894, and Ida Tarbell, in a 
magazine series ending in 1904, had tarred and feathered the 
Standard Oil Trust. The SociaHst movement was winning the 
support of working people throughout the country for its program 
to do away with private capital altogether. And perhaps most 
frightening of all, upstanding middle-class Americans, profes- 
sionals and businessmen with values very much like the Rockefel- 
lers themselves, were joining the call for Progressive reforms. 
The Progressive movement, while firmly supporting capitalism, 
was calling for constraints on the accumulation and concentration 
of private wealth. Roosevelt was elected in 1904 on a platform 
that at least threatened to break up monopolies. 

"I trembled," Gates later recalled, "as I witnessed the 
unreasoning popular resentment at Mr. Rockefeller's riches, to 
the mass of the people a national menace." Gates might believe 
that Rockefeller "used his wealth always and only in the public 

50 I "Wholesale Philanthropy" 

interest," that his fortune had been created by economies rather 
than by theft, that his wide investments in industry and finance 
constituted "vast permanent contributions to the wealth and 
well-being of the American people." But few people in the 
country not connected with 26 Broadway agreed with him.^^ 

In the fall of 1906 the federal government launched a major 
suit to break up the Standard Oil Trust, and that litigation began 
its five-year journey through the courts. After Rockefeller gave 
the GEB $32 million in 1907 to finance Gates' plan to create "a 
system of higher education in the United States," many respect- 
able newspapers and magazines suggested that "the purpose of 
Mr. Rockefeller's large gift is to head off, if possible, the teaching 
of socialism, which is on the increase ... in a number of 
universities." Also in 1907 federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain 
Landis hit the Indiana Standard company with a $29 million fine 
for obtaining rebates on its railroad shipments, one of the 
"economies" in which Gates and Rockefeller took pride. "No 
oriental despot . . . has committed such arbitrary acts of confis- 
cation as the present administration is responsible for under the 
forms of law," Gates railed. ^^ 

The Landis fine was quashed on appeal, but the spectre of 
dissolution and ultimately of confiscation pursued the Rockefel- 
lers and many of their class. The Rockefeller philanthropies 
created new programs and with them new images for the 
benefactors. The programs appealed to their perceptions of social 
needs, but in their perceptions, society's needs were indistin- 
guishable from their own. Colleges were expanded and organized 
into a system of higher education to produce the professionals 
and managers the corporate society badly needed, but the GEB 
for two decades consciously followed Gates' directive to strength- 
en private rather than state universities because private institu- 
tions, controlled by men and women like themselves, would be 
more likely to "direct popular opinion into right channels."*^ The 
medical philanthropies, outwardly appearing only to fill an 
obvious social need, helped to develop a medical care system 
peculiarly suited to the needs of corporate capitahsm, as we will 
see in subsequent chapters. 


It is clear that John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was neither the 
initiator nor the strategist in his philanthropies. In the early years 

''Wholesale Philanthropy" I 51 

it was Gates and then Gates and Junior whose ideas and 
strategies shaped the elder Rockefeller's fortune into purposeful 
programs. In part the insight they showed concerning the needs 
of capitalist society may be attributed to their individual personal- 
ities, shaped by their own Ufe experiences. But they were also 
representative of the new class of men (and very few women at 
that time) who provided the managerial skills needed by corpo- 
rate industry and finance. Unhke the individualistic entrepre- 
neurs who built the enormous industrial and financial empires 
around themselves in the latter nineteenth century, these new 
managers were more sensitive to the smooth workings of their 

In industry, management's role was to rationalize production, 
to divide the productive process into "efficient" units, and 
simultaneously to coordinate each with the other to produce a 
unified organization, hnked in a similarly coordinated fashion 
with disparate sources of investment capital and raw materials at 
one end of the production line and with a system of distribution 
and marketing at the other end. Analogous managerial roles were 
also developed in government bureaus and departments, then in 
colleges and the emerging universities. The last major area to 
which skilled management was directed were the social ser- 
vices — charity and social welfare programs, philanthropic founda- 
tions, and medicine. 

The foundations were key instruments in early efforts to 
rationalize social services, public health, and medical care under 
the control of specially trained managers in those fields, and the 
foundations themselves became the turf of this same management 
class. It made little difference whether one owned a substantial 
share of the country's corporate wealth or whether one simply ran 
the factories and institutions owned by the wealthy. The actions 
of each group were essentially the same, and their values were 
quite similar. They both accepted the prevaihng economic, social, 
and political system as given, and they sought to make the system 
work smoothly. 

Some of these system managers used charity to try to make 
capitalist society, whose ideal model is a purely competitive 
marketplace, a less "rigid and heartless" one, as a recent 
proponent of this view put it. He believes that philanthropy 
should "provide at least some softening of the corners and 
relaxation of the rigid rule of self-interest. "*"* 

52 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy" 

Others like Gates and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., conceived of 
a more strategic role for philanthropy — the transformation of 
social institutions. They worked to make the nation's colleges and 
universities into a system that would more efficiently yield 
technically trained and properly socialized professionals and 
managers for the system. They developed new roles for profes- 
sionals as managers, and they helped rationalize the institutions 
in which these professionals worked. 

Men like the Senior Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie knew 
little of this work. They had understood its relevance to industry 
where they had been the first ones in oil and steel, respectively, to 
create vertically integrated corporations, owning or controlling 
the entire process from oil wells and iron ore mines, to transpor- 
tation, refining and manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. 
But running a corporation is different from running a corporate 
society, and though they understood the need to take more 
control over social institutions, they did not understand how. 

Carnegie, egotistical and individualistic, thought he under- 
stood. Until Andrew Carnegie began giving away libraries in the 
1880s, the world had never seen such a vast fortune apphed to 
private philanthropy. This remarkable innovation in magnitude 
of philanthropic wealth — due, of course, to his insatiable ambi- 
tion in industry rather than to any strategic genius in philan- 
thropy — gave him a social power so vast that it proved truly befud- 
dhng. Armed with a crude social philosophy, he set forth to civilize 
the lower classes and set a model of responsibility for the upper 
echelons of society. The society he hoped to preserve was one 
based expHcitly on enormous disparities of wealth. And he 
attempted to preserve the individualism he and other Social 
Darwinists revered with a largely individualistic approach to 
social transformation. His programs represented his own person- 
alized views, shared in varying degrees by contemporary capital- 
ists. But Carnegie's vision was a limited one and his programs 
often stepped over the edge into absurdity. When Carnegie 
retired from the steel business in 1901, his philanthropic plans 
were vague and scattered. In the words of his biographer Joseph 
F. Wall, "For someone who had written so extensively and 
preached so eloquently as he on the duties of the man of wealth, 
it is rather surprising that he faced this task better armed with 
platitudes than with any concrete program of action."^ 


"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 53 

After several years of massive spending without a real plan, 
Carnegie set up his foundations, and his hired managers began 
accomplishing what he had not. In 1905 Carnegie began to move 
from his individualistic method of dispersing money to a more 
rationalized, systematic model. Appalled by the pitiful incomes 
of college professors — usually not more than $400 per year — 
Carnegie had meant to do something about them for some time. 
But it was Henry S. Pritchett, the president of the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, who moved him to action. While visiting 
Carnegie at his ancient castle in the Scottish Highlands in the 
summer of 1904, Pritchett lamented the difficulties he had in 
attracting young scientists and engineers to teach at MIT. 
Academic salaries could not compare with those offered by 
private industry, and few colleges even had pension systems to 
provide a minimum of financial security for professors. There 
were more discussions the following winter, and in April 1905 
Carnegie announced the creation of his college teachers pension 
fund with an initial endowment of $10 miUion in U.S. Steel 
bonds. A board of trustees was selected consisting mainly of the 
presidents of the most elite universities and colleges in the 
country. Pritchett was appointed president of the new Carnegie 
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.*^ 

Under Pritchett's guidance the new foundation set out to 
recast American higher education. The free pensions became the 
carrot-at-the-end-of-the-stick that colleges would follow down 
the path of reform. An applicant college or university had to have 
a minimum of $200,000 endowment to qualify for the pension 
program. Neither state colleges nor those controlled by rehgious 
denominations were eligible. Finally, to be eligible a school had 
to require of its students a prescribed minimum of high school 
preparation prior to admission. This last requirement proved a 
successful attempt by the foundation to "throw its influence" in 
favor of a "differentiation between the secondary school and the 
college" in order to create "a system of schools intelligently 
related to each other and to the ambitions and needs of a 
democracy." Although only fifty-two of the original 421 appli- 
cants were eligible for the pension plan, other schools soon 
modeled themselves on the Carnegie system to make themselves 
eligible. Denominational colleges cut loose from their controlling 
churches to take advantage of the plan, and the foundation's rules 

54 I "Wholesale Philanthropy" 

were changed to include state institutions. Soon virtually every 
high school and college in the country measured student progress 
in "Carnegie units." A national system of education was taking 
shape with the prodding of Carnegie pensions and the Carnegie 
Foundation as the unofficial accrediting body.^'' 

Almost immediately after opening the offices of the Carnegie 
Foundation, Pritchett began consulting with the General Educa- 
tion Board. His only regret, he told GEB executive secretary 
Wallace Buttrick, was that "I did not come to you before renting 
my office for it would be of great benefit to us to be located near 
you." Pritchett admired Gates, often asked for his advice, and 
tried to get Carnegie to mend his philanthropic ways. In fact the 
record left behind suggests that Pritchett's ideas on systematizing 
higher education were derived from Gates.** 

The leadership that attracted this following was Gates' vision 
of how wealth could rationalize higher education. He described a 
picture of the GEB, through its "moral influence" as well as its 
money, fostering cooperation among colleges and universities 
and securing economies "in administration, in teaching force and 
in the use of men." He hoped that such a philanthropic board, 
properly endowed, would "select" and "direct" the resources of 
higher education, much as the Standard Oil Company had 
transformed the "universal competitive system" that character- 
ized the oil industry in 1870.*^ 

Rockefeller was fortunate to find a man like Gates to develop 
"wholesale philanthropy" for him. As Junior and other officers of 
the Rockefeller foundations readily admitted, Gates was the 
source of most strategic ideas, major programs, and important 
policies in the foundations' first decade and a half, with Junior 
developing an increasingly important role. In that time there was 
no serious challenge raised to Gates' dominance. The board of 
trustees was the final authority, but other staff members knew 
that if they had Gates' or Junior's support, "we were on safe 
ground" and would have little problem winning approval from 
the board. '« 

Gradually, however. Gates' influence declined. While the 
times changed and the much younger Junior became a leader of 
the growing image of corporate responsibility and concern. 
Gates' limitations became apparent. Following the 1914 massacre 
of striking miners and their wives and children in a Ludlow, 

"Wholesale Philanthropy" I 55 

Colorado, mining company controlled by the Rockefellers, 
Junior was held largely responsible by public opinion throughout 
the nation. But the posture he developed afterward, formulated 
by consultant W. L. Mackenzie King, made him the leading 
representative of the new, more benign face of industrial re- 
lations that was winning support from many corporate execu- 
tives. When Junior, who had been called before a Presidential 
commission created to investigate such problems, claimed he 
thought it perfectly proper for "labor to associate itself into 
organized groups for the advancement of its legitimate interests," 
Gates criticized him for adopting a "spirit of conciliation toward 
those who came to him in the spirit of these Unionists." Yet it 
was Junior's support of company unions that was assuaging public 
opinion and winning the respect of other corporate leaders. Gates 
did not adapt himself to the changing times. ^' 

With Gates' leadership passing from the scene, especially 
following his resignation from the GEB executive committee in 
1917, problems of accountability began to be raised. Trustees 
who had willingly followed Gates now found the foundations 
without comparable leadership. Other foundation officers had 
never demonstrated the broad and clear perspective that Gates 
had shown, and with Gates gone from daily participation in 
foundation activities, a vacuum was created. Trustees wanted to 
fill it by increasing their participation. Foundation officers 
quarreled with one another. The foundations drifted. ^^ 

With Gates these problems did not arise because his carefully 
developed and forcefully presented proposals won immediate 
support. Gates never expected the trustees to play an important 
role in social innovation. When a trustee suggested that GEB 
members were appointed to throw new light on "the great 
problem of education in this country," Gates impatiently ex- 
plained that he and Rockefeller gave an "overwhelming prepon- 
derance to business men" in composing the board "to fix the 
policies of this Board along the lines of successful experience." 
They knew, he said, that "successful business men would steer 
the ship along traditional Hnes and would not be carried out of 
their course by any temporary breeze or even by hurricanes of 
sentiment. "^^ The trustees were there to assure in perpetuity that 
Rockefeller's money would be judiciously applied to preserving 
the system and strengthening it, letting professional educators 

56 I ''Wholesale Philanthropy 

promote innovative ideas while the trustees supported only those 
directions which seemed desirable and whose consequences were 
more certain. 

Though Gates ran the GEB with firm leadership and a fiery 
tongue during his tenure as chairman, he and Junior both wanted 
the other trustees to take an active interest in the foundation. 
Without involvement, their interest and sense of responsibility 
for the fortune would decrease — the very thing to be avoided. "In 
the remote future," Junior advised his father, "you must of 
necessity trust to the character and integrity of the men who come 
after you."^"^ 

It was clearly just as important to encourage local communi- 
ties to take "responsibility for self-help." Gates' reasons for this 
guiding principle were moral, tactical, and strategic. He believed 
in the moral precepts of self-reliance and self-discipline. He also 
wanted to enlist the active participation of property owners in 
community institutions. Although they were not as reliable as the 
men appointed to the Rockefeller foundations, the local ruHng 
classes recognized, as did he, that "the right to earn and hold 
surplus wealth marks the dawn of civilization."^^ Gates, Junior, 
and Rockefeller all understood that to fund a local institution 
without requiring contributions and participation from local men 
and women of wealth would be to lessen these people's sense of 
responsibility for what goes on in the institution. They had a 
genuine concern for the preservation of their society, and its 
preservation required the active involvement of all those who had 
a stake in it. 

Rockefeller's involvement with the University of Chicago is a 
good example of this principle in action. Rockefeller contributed 
$35 million to the university during its first two decades compared 
with $7 million from all other donors. He was consulted about 
appointments to the board of trustees and approved the initial Hst 
before it was finalized. But thereafter Rockefeller did not desire 
to control the university, as many people charged. "He prefers to 
rest the whole weight of the management on the shoulders of the 
proper officers," Gates wrote the university president on behalf 
of his boss in 1892. "Donors can be certain that their gifts will be 
preserved and made continuously and largely useful, after their 
own voices can no longer be heard, only in so far as they see 
wisdom and skill in the management, quite independently of 

''Wholesale Philanthropy" I 57 

themselves, now." Rockefeller's trust in the management was 
well founded. There is no evidence that he ever tried directly to 
influence the university administration to fire teachers who 
expressed radical views. It was University of Chicago president 
Harper who took the initiative to drop Professor Edward Bemis 
after he made a speech, following the 1894 Pullman strike, critical 
of the railroads. Rockefeller and Gates had merely appointed the 
"right" men to manage their philanthropic and financial enter- 
prises, men who were led by values and considerations similar to 
their own and who could be counted on to do what was expected. 
In many ways, local authorities in whom Rockefeller placed his 
trust proved the correctness of this rule.^^ 

One final and important tactical reason for securing local 
involvement was to multiply the impact of each grant. The 
Rockefeller foundations required virtually all recipients to raise 
an amount equal to, or as much as four times greater than, the 
grant being given by the foundation. Besides being chosen for 
their stabilizing influence, foundation trustees were also chosen 
for "the prestige and authority of their names." Andrew Carne- 
gie, Long Island Railroad president Wilham H. Baldwin, Har- 
vard president Charles W. Eliot, Johns Hopkins president Daniel 
Coit Oilman, pubhsher Walter Hines Page, banker Oeorge 
Foster Peabody, and other prestigious individuals were appointed 
to the OEB to "secure general public approval and active and 
powerful pubhc cooperation" for OEB programs. In gaining 
public support and in requiring matching contributions from 
others, the foundation was able to multiply the impact of the 
grant programs. By 1925 the OEB had given $60 million to the 
endowments of colleges and universities in the United States for 
certain reforms they deemed desirable, and they had, by their 
matching-grant policy, required the institutions to raise an addi- 
tional $140 million to support these OEB-required changes. By 
1928 the Oeneral Education Board had contributed some $50 mil- 
lion to medical schools for very specific reforms,* generating 
total resources estimated at ten times that amount for those 
same reforms.^^ 

Thus the Rockefeller philanthropies, under the guidance of 
skilled managers, developed self-consciously strategic programs 

*This program is described in detail in Chapter 4. 

58 I "Wholesale Philanthropy" 

to transform higher education and medical care, among other 
social institutions. The thrust of their programs was to systema- 
tize and rationalize these institutions to make them better serve 
the needs of corporate capitalism. 

The rise of industrial capitalism brought with it many new 
needs that provided opportunities for groups besides the capital- 
ist class. The work process was reshaped to reduce the costs and 
increase management's control of production. Scientists devel- 
oped the basic understandings on which technological innovation 
was based. Engineers adapted scientific knowledge to produc- 
tion, designing new methods and machines that reduced the need 
for skilled workers, increased productivity, and generally gave 
management more complete control of the entire production 

A new stratum of managers and professionals emerged in the 
society's class structure to design and organize production and the 
institutions that reproduce and control capitalist society's social 
relations. Colleges and universities became the training and 
research agencies, producing knowledge and reproducing engi- 
neers, scientists, lawyers, teachers, and other technicians and 
social managers. Managers were well paid for their efforts, and 
some, like Gates, were incorporated into the highest circles of the 
owning class. But despite their separation from predominant 
ownership, managers of corporations and institutions alike "still 
think and act as though the firm belonged to them," as William 
Appleman WiUiams put it.^* Their commitments to the prevailing 
economic system are complete. 

Out of an earlier mercantilist philanthropy grew a new 
corporate philanthropy, intended not to ameliorate the lot of 
industrial capitalism's victims but to shape and guide social 
institutions. Foundations were, and still are, important ramparts 
through which private wealth, acting through creative and loyal 
managers, influences and often controls universities, medical 
schools, and other "public" institutions. The Rockefeller foun- 
dations established directions and strategies that other foun- 
dations followed. Gates led the Rockefeller philanthropies with 
his "imagination, daring, and an intuitive sense of educational 
strategy. "^^ Pritchett, following Gates' leadership, made Carne- 
gie's foundation an engine of social transformation. In many 

''Wholesale Philanthropy" I 59 

ways, Gates, Pritchett, and other managers understood the 
workings and needs of capitaHsm better than the ostensible 
owners of the system did. 

Broad social transformations, however, require the participa- 
tion of more than the ruling class. While the working class 
suffered greatly from the capitalist reorganization of production, 
some groups attached themselves to the ascending corporate class 
and benefited greatly. New occupations, like engineering and 
social work, and old ones, like law and medicine, gained elevated 
professional status in return for becoming the new order's 
managers of production or social relations. Medicine's almost 
fantastic transformation from rank ignominy to Olympian heights 
of status exemplifies the powerful consequences of an interest 
group adapting itself to the needs of the dominant class. 


Scientific Medicine I: 
Ideology of 

Professional Uplift 

Throughout the nineteenth century the medical profession was 
almost constantly frustrated in its attempts to gain public con- 
fidence and raise professional incomes and status. Despite varied 
attempts to alter the competitive market economy for medical 
services, the dominant portion of the profession continued to 
be plagued by competition within its own ranks and from those 
beyond the pale of orthodoxy. 

In this chapter we will see how the rise of science in the latter 
part of the century provided the solution that medical reformers 
had previously sought in vain. Physicians and biological research- 
ers consciously applied the methods and principles of scientific 
research to problems of disease, though even in the 1860s their 
work had Httle support and played a very minor role within the 
medical profession. At about midcentury, however, leading 
reformers among elite medical practitioners took up "scientific 
medicine" as the ideology of professional reform and uplift. 
Medical science gradually provided practitioners with a some- 
what more effective medical practice, enabling them to increase 
their credibility with the public and reduce economic competition 
within the profession. "Scientific medicine" was adopted as the 
unifying theory that enabled the dominant profession to develop 
strong political organization and to win political and financial 

Scientific Medicine I I 61 

support from wealthy people in society. Perhaps most fundamen- 
tal, the association of medicine with science won support from the 
new technical, professional, and managerial groups associated 
with the growth of corporate capitalism. 


In 1800, nearly all American physicians received their training 
as apprentices at the side of a practicing physician, assisting with 
simple techniques and mixing medications. In the eighteenth 
century, medical lectures had not been widely available in this 
country, so young men from the upper class went abroad for their 
medical education, especially to Scotland. The handful of 
Edinburgh-trained physicians in America developed very success- 
ful practices, with the wealthiest citydwellers for their clients and 
lucrative consulting practices besides. By 1800 only about a 
hundred American physicians had attended medical courses at 
Edinburgh, and only three American medical programs — at 
Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Dartmouth — were offering lectures 
to supplement the apprenticeship. The graduates of these institu- 
tions formed a medical elite, and together with the rank-and-file 
apprentice-trained physicians they formed the self-styled "regu- 
lar" profession.^ 

But most Americans were probably not getting their medical 
care from "regular" physicians. Whereas most of the populace 
lived in the countryside or small towns, most apprentice-trained 
doctors and the few medical school graduates lived in the large 
towns and cities. In Virginia, by 1800 the eleven largest towns had 
only 3 percent of the state's population, yet 25 percent of all 
physicians known to have practiced in Virginia during the 
eighteenth century lived in those eleven towns. ^ 

Most Americans, when they were sick, consulted herbal 
practitioners. These empirical healers had no formal training but 
apprenticed mainly with other herbalists. Some of the herbalists 
were midwives, and others were men and women who had 
experimented with herbs and were known for their abilities to 
heal the sick. Lay healers were distributed throughout the 
countryside. They seldom rehed on healing for their entire 
support and charged little for their services.^ Regular physicians 
were increasingly plying their art on a full-time basis and charging 

62 I Scientific Medicine I 

substantially higher fees, often supported by medical societies' 
pubhshing "fee bills" to place a floor under competing doctors' 

The maldistribution of regular physicians and their higher fees 
were only two reasons why the regular profession was widely 
unpopular in the first half of the nineteenth century. Very much 
related to their social, economic, and geographic separation from 
the populace, the orthodox profession's clinical practice was 
greatly feared by much of the population. Not only did medicine 
offer little hope for curing disease, but the heroic methods used 
by regular doctors were unpleasant and often lethal. The lancet 
was the physician's indispensable tool for nearly every ailment. 
Benjamin Rush, the most prominent physician in America from 
the Revolution through Jefferson's time, urged bleeding for 
yellow fever "not only in cases where the pulse was full and 
quick, but where it was slow and tense.'"* When bleeding was not 
recommended, and even when it was, calomel (chloride of 
mercury), jalap, or another purgative was administered. The 
violent vomiting and purging that resulted were more detested 
than even the pus-filled blisters induced as another form of 
therapy. After attacking the body as well as the disease with 
bleeding, blistering, and purging, the physician administered an 
arsenic tonic to restore the weakened patient's vigor. 

Against this distasteful and frequently disastrous treatment by 
regular physicians, the empirical herbaHsts' mild treatments were 
pleasanter and at the very least did not interfere with natural 
rates of recovery. Their mild emetics and stimulants seemed 
closer to nature than the regulars' profuse blood-letting and harsh 

Still experiencing competition from the empirically grounded 
herbalists, regular physicians resorted to ever larger doses of their 
therapies through the first half of the nineteenth century. 
BeUeving that any desired change in a patient's gross symptoms 
was to the good and seeking to distinguish their art from lay 
practice, regular doctors bled their patients more profusely and 
doubled and tripled their doses of calomel and jalap. The 
profession's heroic therapy became the focus of increasingly 
bitter and widespread attacks. Thomas Jefferson called them an 
"inexperienced and presumptuous band of medical tyros let loose 
upon the world." By the middle of the century cholera victims 
were given an even chance of being done in by the disease or by 

Scientific Medicine I I 63 

the doctor. The profession's fearsome and futile methods reduced 
pubHc confidence in regular doctors to an all-time low.^ 

Leading local and regional members of the profession tried 
many methods of increasing public confidence in doctors and 
reducing competition. At various times during the nineteenth 
century, they sought licensing laws, formed new medical sects, 
started medical schools and issued diplomas, organized state and 
national medical societies, demanded medical school reforms, 
and adopted codes of ethics, all with little or no improvement in 
technical effectiveness, credibility with the public, or their own 
status and fortunes. 


Despite the antipathy of much of the populace, regular 
doctors at the end of the eighteenth century persuaded fellow 
gentlemen in the state legislatures to pass medical licensing laws 
to restrict or prohibit practice by herbal healers. Licensure 
bestowed exclusively on regular physicians the right to sue for 
fees. The legally sanctioned economic privilege did not provide 
the regular profession with an economic monopoly, but it did set 
them apart from and above lay healers and most other Ameri- 

In addition to the public's lack of confidence in regular 
physicians' clinical methods, populists in the Jacksonian era 
articulated their opposition to any form of class privilege. By 1850 
medical licensing laws were repealed in nearly every state 
through the efforts of the Popular Health Movement, a loose 
populist movement of lay healers, herbal practitioners, artisans, 
farmers, and working people who fought to remove the legal 
sanctions that protected the privileged position of physicians.'' 


The humiliated profession was badly divided. Many physi- 
cians, critical of heroic medicine, were attracted to the pleasanter 
new professional sects, such as homeopathy and eclecticism, that 
were growing in popularity. These sects built their materia 
medica around herbal drugs or some distinctive technology or 
procedure, each adding elements that enabled them to claim the 
necessity of extended study in their field. 

64 I Scientific Medicine I 

Homeopathy, as formulated by its founder Samuel Hahne- 
mann (a German physician), was based on the widely accepted 
medical view that the symptoms of a disease constitute the 
disease itself and, a corollary, that eliminating the symptoms 
constitutes a cure. Hahnemann found that some drugs produced 
the same symptoms in a healthy person (that is, caused the 
"illness") that they eliminated in a sick person (whom they 
"cured"). For example, he found that cinchona bark, at the time 
used to relieve the symptoms of malaria, produced malarial 
symptoms in a healthy person. From these observations he 
developed what he called the law of similia similibus curantur — or 
"like cures like." Hahnemann also maintained that diluting the 
dosage of a drug down to one ten-thousandth or one-millionth of 
its original strength increased the drug's potency.* 

Competition between the sects and the lack of decisive public 
support for any one of them, left none of the sects in a position to 
establish control through licensing. The orthodox profession and 
the other sects turned to medical education and degrees as a 
method of recruiting and certifying new physicians in their ranks 
and uplifting the profession. Medical schools proliferated 
throughout the country, and some 400 were founded between 
1800 and 1900.^ Local physicians organized schools to supplement 
their practices with lecture fees paid by medical students and, 
through their graduates, to fatten their incomes with increased 
consultations. At a time when physicians considered $1,000 to 
$2,000 a year a good income, the average part-time medical 
school faculty member earned more than $5,000 annually from 
student fees and private practice while more enterprising and 
popular colleagues earned at least $10,000.^° Like hundreds of 
general colleges started before the Civil War by rival Protestant 
sects and political groups, many medical schools were started by 
rival medical sects to improve their competitive position vis-a-vis 
other sects. The orthodox profession controlled by far the largest 
number of schools. ^^ 

The proliferation of medical schools in the 1800s assured the 
dominance of diploma-carrying regular doctors over lay healers 
and physicians of other sects. By 1860 regular physicians outnum- 
bered other sectarian doctors ten to one.^^ The inexpensive and 
widely dispersed medical colleges encouraged large numbers of 
young men and some women to attempt careers in medicine. 

Scientific Medicine I I 65 

Graduates, many of them from yeoman farming and working- 
class families, filled the cities, towns, and countryside of Ameri- 
ca. Elite* regular physicians resented the competition within the 
dominant sect, but they saved their most venomous denuncia- 
tions for competing sects. The sectarian doctor was "the greatest 
foe to the medical profession," argued the dean of the Tulane 
University medical department, because he was "an obstacle to 
the financial success of the respectable medical practitioner."'^ 

As the number of physicians increased, organized doctors 
became increasingly worried. It was clear to all physicians that 
producing a lot of doctors would lower rather than raise the status 
and incomes of the profession as a whole. Lacking the public 
support necessary for effective medical licensing laws and still 
smarting from the humiliating defeat of medical licensing earlier 
in the century, the reformers turned to medical school reform. 
Raising medical school standards and thereby reducing their 
enrollment, medical reformers believed, would simultaneously 
win public confidence in medical practice and reduce the output 
of doctors. The problem they faced was how to control the 
independent, proprietary medical schools. 


Local and state medical societies, representing the practition- 
ers, fought with medical schools in their areas. In 1847 the 
societies banded together to form the American Medical Associa- 
tion (AM A). At the founding convention, leading practitioners 
passed resolutions that sought to raise requirements for prelimi- 
nary education prior to admission to medical school. So few 
Americans had the requisite education at the time that enforce- 
ment of these standards, according to historian William Roth- 
stein, "would have closed down practically every medical school 
in the country, and would have depleted the ranks of formally 
educated physicians in a few years. "'"* 

From its founding onward, the AMA was hostile to the 
interests of proprietary medical colleges and their faculties. The 
practitioners wanted to reduce the output of medical schools in 

*The term "elite" refers somewhat loosely to physicians who, by their reputations for 
clinical or research techniques, by income, and/or by organizational leadership positions, 
had achieved prominence within the profession. 

66 I Scientific Medicine I 

order to reduce competition within the profession, while the 
medical faculties opposed any attempted reforms because of their 
interests in maximizing their lecture fees and future consulting 
fees. Unfortunately for the practitioners, the reform leadership 
mistakenly thought that including medical schools in the new 
national organization would allow the medical societies to control 
them. This strategic mistake immobilized the AMA as the 
vanguard of practitioners' interests until 1874 when medical 
college voting rights in the association were abolished. 


The AMA's attacks on medical education and especially on 
other medical sects were supported by a "code of ethics" adopted 
at their first convention. With the code the AMA hoped to deny 
the ability of patients to judge their physicians or disagreements 
between physicians, to encourage attacks on "irregular" doctors 
and "quacks," and generally to reduce competition among 
regular physicians. At the same time that the AMA complained 
about the low standards of medical education, the association 
commanded patients to trust their doctors. "The obedience of a 
patient to the prescriptions of his doctor should be prompt and 
impHcit," the code of ethics instructed. The patient "should never 
permit his own crude opinions as to their fitness to influence his 
attention to them."^^ 

These efforts to bolster the profession's falling economic 
status and power were legitimized on moral and ethical grounds 
by the medical societies. Since the colonial period, violation of 
"ethical codes" had been grounds for ostracizing nonconforming 
physicians. Codes were used not only against other sects and lay 
healers but against members of the regular profession who 
consulted with homeopaths and eclectics and even against the 
developing medical specialties which offered competition to the 
general practitioners. The AMA code failed to win public support 
or stamp out competition although the medical societies' attacks 
on members for code violations intimidated some doctors and 
increased intraprofessional antagonisms.'^ 

In short, conflicts between practitioners and medical faculties, 
generalists and specialists, and "regular" physicians and other 
sects kept the profession badly divided throughout the nineteenth 
century. The incoherent strategy of the regular profession's 

Scientific Medicine I I 67 

leadership and the weak structure of their organization, the 
AM A, left the field with no sect able to secure undisputed control 
over the competitive marketplace. 

Medical school output continued unabated. By the end of the 
nineteenth century, the United States averaged one physician to 
every 568 people. ^^ Compared with prevailing ratios in European 
countries (Germany, with one doctor to 2,000 population, was 
the favorite example), the United States was "overcrowded" with 
physicians. Physicians' incomes ran the gamut from poor ($200 a 
year) to wealthy (as much as $30,000 a year for a small number of 
elite doctors). The chief complaints of the most prominent 
professional spokesmen by the end of the century were the 
"surplus" of doctors, "low" incomes, and the low social status of 
the profession. 

Three underlying problems plagued medical reformers who 
tried to heal these wounds. First, physicians lacked an agreed 
upon technical basis for settling among themselves disputes 
between the sects. Without public consensus on technical criteria 
of effectiveness and validity, all sects competed for business in the 
medical market. But without sufficient public confidence in the 
validity of any one sect, no sect could win a monopoly of medical 
practice and thereby eliminate the competition. 

Second, their lack of a technical basis for establishing public 
support put them all in a weak position to establish political 
control over entry into medical practice. Earlier efforts to use 
licensing ended in humiliating defeat for the regular profession 
because of organized opposition from other sects and a distrustful 

Third, within at least the dominant sect different economic 
interests divided those who practiced medicine from those who 
trained future practitioners. Practitioners wanted to restrict the 
supply of physicians, and part-time faculty wanted to preserve 
institutions that were lucrative additions to their own practices. 


Without actually having public confidence in their technical 
ability, physicians throughout the nineteenth century and earlier 
had nevertheless proclaimed norms to support their authority 
over the lay public. Demands for recognition of the regular 
profession's technical competence (in which they undoubtedly 

68 I Scientific Medicine I 

believed) were the means of legitimating their claims to profes- 
sional authority. The recognition of that authority, however, was 
seen as necessary to the profession's controlling the economic 
conditions of its work. By proclaiming a set of norms and values 
associated with their work, regular physicians hoped to end the 
competitive market for medical services and to win a regulated 
market for themselves. 

The basis of professional status and power is still debated by 
sociologists, who traditionally have posed a set of essential 
features that are supposed to distinguish professions from the 
general run of occupations. In 1928, A. M. Carr-Saunders, the 
father of the sociology of professions, defined a profession as an 
occupation: (1) based on specialized intellectual training or study, 
(2) providing a skilled service to others, and (3) in return for a fee 
or salary. ^^ Thirty years later, William Goode stressed prolonged 
specialized training in a body of abstract knowledge and a 
collectivity or service orientation as the "core characteristics" of 
professions.^^ The list of formal characteristics of professions has 
been extended by other sociologists to include a systematic body 
of theory, acceptance of the authority of the professional by all 
who come to him or her as clients, protection of the professional's 
authority by the political community, a code of ethics to regulate 
professional relations, and a set of values, norms and symbols 
that build solidarity among the profession's members. ^° 

However, lists of formal characteristics turn out to be fairly 
useless in the real world in distinguishing professions from other 
occupations. Even worse, they tend to gloss over the political and 
economic dynamics that are essential to the process of profes- 
sionalization, making professional status and power appear an 
inevitable and desirable feature of modern societies. In reality, as 
Eliot Freidson has observed, any occupation wishing professional 
status creates a systematic body of theory, claims exclusive 
authority of its practitioners, adopts a code of ethics, tries to build 
solidarity among its practitioners around formal values, norms, 
and symbols, and otherwise cloaks itself with the well-known 
medallions of professions to support its claims. "If there is no 
systematic body of theory," Freidson argues, "it is created for the 
purpose of being able to say there is."^^ 

The commitment to service, argues Harold Wilensky, is "the 
pivot around which the moral claim to professional status 

Scientific Medicine I I 69 

revolves."" Like many such professional norms, there remains 
no clear evidence that a service orientation is in fact strong and 
widespread among professionals. In reviewing the sociological 
literature that makes such claims, Freidson has concluded: "the 
blunt fact is that discussions of professions assume or assert by 
definition and without supporting empirical evidence that 'service 
orientation' is especially common among professionals."^^ 

Indeed, many academic social scientists have been beguiled 
by their own (usually self-serving) beliefs in "science" and 
"expertise" into confusing professional norms with the reality of 
professional practice and motivation. Codes of ethics were 
accepted by some sociologists as genuine efforts by the profession 
to guarantee competence and honor. Carr-Saunders believed that 
"if the foundations of the codes were better understood, they 
would not be generally regarded with hostility. "^"^ 

More recently, some sociologists have approached profession- 
al norms more critically. Everett Hughes, for example, argues 
that the widespread acceptance of norms, hke the professional 
"should have almost complete control over what he does for the 
client" and "only the professional can say when his colleague 
makes a mistake," have been used by professionals to hide 
mistakes. ^^ 

What much of the sociological literature ignores in examining 
the process of professionalization is how essential political power 
is in gaining and maintaining professional status. As the history of 
the medical profession in the nineteenth century demonstrates, 
without sufficient political power the profession remained unable 
to control its economic and working conditions. Initial efforts at 
licensure were defeated by a popular movement of lay healers 
and other Jacksonian-era populists. Attempts to use medical 
education as a strategy of reform were thwarted by the organized 
profession's lack of control over medical schools. The leading 
reformers organized a national professional association, but the 
medical school faculties were beyond the reach of the American 
Medical Association. Ethical codes, articulating prevaihng pro- 
fessional norms, failed to win public support for the profession 
and could not overcome intraprofessional competition. What the 
medical reformers sought was the power to enforce the instru- 
ments of professionalism that assure high incomes, social status, 
and continued prosperity for the profession. 

70 I Scientific Medicine I 

Freidson is adamant in this interpretation of professionaliza- 
tion. "Not training as such, but only the issue of autonomy and 
control over training granted the occupation by an elite or public 
persuaded of its importance seems to be able to distinguish clearly 
among occupations," he argues. "And the process determining 
the outcome is essentially poHtical and social rather than techni- 
cal in character — a process in which power and persuasive 
rhetoric are of greater importance than the objective character of 
knowledge, training, and work." The nature of training, as well 
as the service ideal, ethical code, and body of abstract theory 
constitute a profession's "ideology, a deliberate rhetoric in a 
political process of lobbying, public relations, and other forms of 
persuasion to attain a desirable end — full control over its 

The history of medicine, from this perspective, can be 
understood as a political process in which the specific reforms — 
however much they may increase the technical effectiveness of 
physicians — are also instruments of persuasion and symbols of 
legitimacy. The goals of reform leaders were to gain collective 
control for the profession over its working conditions and 
economics in order to establish a hierarchy of authority and 
power among healing occupations, to assure that physicians reign 
firmly at the top of the hierarchy, and to assure them as high 
incomes as possible in any given historical period. 

Support for such interests would have to come from outside 
the profession. While efforts were made to win the credibility of 
"the public," leaders of the profession did not see their struggle 
as a grassroots campaign. Seeking a social and economic position 
above the majority of the population, they could at best hope for 
the acquiescence of the people. Active support would have to 
come from the already higher social classes. In the eighteenth 
century, practitioners had turned to gentlemen farmers and 
wealthy merchants in the state legislatures to protect their in- 
terests. In the nineteenth century a political rebellion from below 
demonstrated the insufficiency of merely legislated sanctions. 
Furthermore, political power increasingly rested in a new class in 
society — those capitalists who controlled great manufacturing 
and marketing enterprises. These were the men who, for good 
or bad, were changing the face of the nation. Around their en- 
terprises grew the great cities. From their factories came the 

Scientific Medicine 1/71 

steel and machines that enabled the same men to unify the 
country commercially with railroads, products, and even armies. 
From their corporations came the demand for foreign resources 
and the products for foreign markets that were rapidly making 
America a world power. This was the ascending class in America 
at the end of the nineteenth century. Those groups in society who 
connected with their enterprises or their interests could rise with 

It became clear to increasing numbers of physicians that the 
complete professionalization of medicine could come only when 
they developed an ideology and a practice that was consistent 
with the ideas and interests of socially and politically dominant 
groups in the society. It was desirable that everyone in society 
recognize their technical effectiveness, but it was essential that the 
classes and groups associated with the ascending social order 
believe in their efficacy. The development and increasing domi- 
nance of scientific medicine within the profession provided the 
virtually perfect material and ideological basis for an alliance of 
the medical profession with other professionals (mainly engineers 
and lawyers), corporate managers, and all ranks of the capitalist 
class. The medical profession discovered an ideology that was 
compatible with the world view of, and politically and economi- 
cally useful to, the capitalist class and the emerging managerial 
and professional stratum. 


Medical research was flourishing in Germany and France 
during the nineteenth century, and even in the United States 
biologists and physicians made their contributions. In 1818 
Valentine Mott, a New York physician, was among the first to 
attempt major arterial surgery near the heart. Other Americans 
also attempted new surgical procedures while some physicians 
contributed new understandings to internal medicine. The New 
York Academy of Medicine, founded in 1847, and the Pathologi- 
cal Society in Philadelphia promoted discussion of medical 
research and science.^'' 

Few of the findings and developments in medical research 
were directly useful in improving medical practice. It is doubtful 
that many patients survived the new surgical techniques in the 

72 I Scientific Medicine I 

absence of aseptic practices. While the differentiation of diseases 
made observation more precise, the usual heroic treatments were 
just as likely to do the patient in as before. 

Beginning in midcentury, medical research in Europe started 
producing more applicable findings. In 1858 Rudolf Virchow 
unveiled a general concept of disease based on the cellular 
structure of the body. From the findings of cell physiology, 
anatomy, and pathology, Pasteur, Koch, and other medical 
researchers developed new concepts and applications of bacteri- 
ology.^^ In the last quarter of the century specialized German 
laboratories began to replace the more generalist botanists, 
biologists, and physicians. Their findings gave medical science a 
more reductionist and technically more effective turn. 

Changes in American medical practice reflected the gradual 
acceptance of recent developments in Europe. Starting in the 
1870s, American physicians flocked to the famous laboratories of 
German and Austrian universities for a year or more of study — if 
they were ambitious and could afford the expense of travel and 
living abroad without income. Between 1870 and the outbreak of 
World War I in 1914, about 15,000 American physicians studied 
medicine in Germany alone. ^^ 

While most American doctors who studied in Europe re- 
turned to develop lucrative private practices, a few put their main 
energies into developing laboratory medical sciences in the 
United States. Carl Ludwig's physiology institute in Leipzig 
produced several luminaries of America's infant medical science. 
Henry Pickering Bowditch, one of Ludwig's pupils, founded the 
country's first experimental physiology department at Harvard 
University in 1871. William Henry Welch, another of Ludwig's 
pupils, started America's first pathology laboratory at Bellevue 
Hospital medical school in 1878.^° 

Fifteen years later American medical science came of age with 
the opening of the Johns Hopkins medical school, modeled after 
the German university medical schools with a heavy emphasis on 
research in the basic medical sciences. At Hopkins, for the first 
time in the United States, the laboratory science faculty were to 
be full-time teachers and researchers, supported by salaries 
adequate to live on and unencumbered by the distractions of 
private practice. Virtually the entire Hopkins faculty was trained 
in Germany. Hopkins, and then Harvard, Yale, and Pennsylva- 

Scientific Medicine I I 73 

nia, became the indigenous producers of scientific medical 
faculty. As scientific medicine gained increasing acceptance, 
medical schools throughout the country vied for Hopkins gradu- 
ates to add gleam to their lackluster local faculties. 

Medical practice likewise began to change with the increased 
acceptance of medical science. Physicians began introducing into 
their work those scientific medical practices that were uncompli- 
cated and acceptable to their patients and at least seemed 
effective in reducing suffering and ameliorating the symptoms of 
disease. ^^ The use of bleeding and calomel began falling off in the 
1870s though many physicians continued to use them on a more 
hmited basis as late at the 1920s. 

Physicians who had the money to take an extra year's study in 
Europe were able to build more prestigious practices than the 
ordinary American-trained doctor. Usually they would take 
themselves out of direct competition with the majority of 
physicians by specializing in gynecology, surgery, opthalmology, 
or one of the other new branches of medicine. They quickly 
formed a new elite in the profession, with reputations that 
brought the middle and wealthy classes to their doors. ^^ 

As the base of scientific medicine spread out to include more 
practitioners, the peaks of elite physicians rose even higher. They 
quickly found that "scientific medicine" not only seemed more 
effective than the heroics of old, it was also far more profitable. 

Professional leaders had tried numerous ways of uplifting the 
profession during the nineteenth century, but none of them had 
succeeded. It was medical science that provided the key to 
professional reform. Medical research yielded new tools of 
understanding and held out the hope of more effective techniques 
of prevention and treatment than orthodox medicine offered. But 
scientific medicine was utilized by professional leaders beyond 
merely increasing the technical effectiveness of their practice. It 
became as well the ideology of professionalization, used to gain 
support from the dominant groups associated with industrial 
capitalism, to cement the complete dominance of health care by 
the medical profession, and to raise the incomes and status of 
physicians as a group. 

The obvious advantages to the profession notwithstanding, 
scientific medicine contained within it the seeds of ultimate 
destruction for the profession. The remainder of this chapter and 

74 I Scientific Medicine I 

the rest of this study will examine how this dialectic played itself 
out — the benefits the profession derived from the adoption of 
scientific medicine, the contradictions inherent in this historical 
process that began to undermine the position of the medical 
profession, and the new forces and contradictions that are now 


Scientific medicine solved two broad problems the medical 
profession faced in the late nineteenth century: lack of public 
confidence in the effectiveness of their service and competition 
within the medical profession. 

Rather than inspiring awe and confidence, the regular medical 
profession had won the public's fear and ridicule. To win public 
support and patronage was the major task set by professional 
leaders during the nineteenth century. The AMA's code of ethics 
sought to assure the lay public that doctors were ethical and 
competent and attempted to command the public to place their 
confidence in regular physicians. But no claims or commands 
were effective in the absence of convincing personal experience 
or persuasive propaganda that could substitute for personal 

While homeopathy, eclecticism, and osteopathy did not have 
as much public patronage as the regular profession, they had a 
strong base of support. They had a following, including many 
wealthy and influential people, who believed in their absolute 
effectiveness. Their practitioners were widely believed to be, 
relatively at least, as effective as and certainly less dangerous than 
most regular doctors. And they did not demand a monopoly of 
practice, a wise and practical political course given the disreputa- 
ble condition of the profession and the almost universal reliance 
on home remedies for most minor acute and chronic ailments. 

For the regular profession to win in their competition with the 
other medical sects, they needed first of all to gain absolutely and 
relatively in public confidence. Scientific medicine provided the 
basis for a concerted and successful campaign to win this public 
support. The effort never depended on the common folk of 
America. The campaign for acceptance of scientific medicine was 
aimed at the wealthy and powerful in society and the new 

Scientific Medicine I I 75 

"middle" classes. Both of these groups owed their privileged 
positions to the intensive industrialization that began with the 
Civil War. They were particularly attracted to a kind of medicine 
that shared their industrial culture, their values, their world 
outlook, and their ideologies. "Scientific management" analyzed 
the labor process in production into its constituent elements and 
reorganized them under management's control and for manage- 
ment's profits." In a similar vein, "scientific medicine" analyzed 
the body into its parts, subjected the parts to the control of 
scientific doctors, and thereby kept the bodies healthier and more 

The germ theory of disease was especially attractive to both 
the regular profession and these new industrial and corporate 
elites. The germ theory emphasized discrete, specific, and exter- 
nal causal agents of disease. It gave encouragement to the idea 
of specific therapies to cure specific pathological conditions. ^"^ 
The payoff for the medical practitioners would be increased 
technical effectiveness and improved standing in the eyes of the 
public. That was not the foremost concern of either influential 
capitalists or medical researchers. These men (there were hardly 
any women in their ranks) saw in scientific medicine the possi- 
bility of preventing diseases through technological intervention 
that identified the offending organism and its means of contagion, 
and attacked the organism at the source or used it to create an 
immune response within the body. Disease was thus seen as an 
engineering problem, surmountable with sufficient talent and 
resources. To the medical researchers the germ theory and dis- 
coveries in bacteriology confirmed the value of their craft and 
assured increased support for their work. For capitalists, bac- 
teriological investigations and the application of the findings 
opened the possibility of reducing the toll that disease took of 
society's resources. 

The forerunners of scientific medicine, along with practition- 
ers in other medical sects, had already greatly improved the 
classification of diseases. European physicians had long dominat- 
ed the field of medical discovery although now and then an 
American made a contribution. In 1836 William Gerhardt, a 
physician at Philadelphia Hospital, clinically differentiated ty- 
phoid from typhus. But there was little practical benefit from 
such classifications when no therapy was forthcoming to cure the 

16 I Scientific Medicine I 

condition. Bleeding, purging, blistering, and tonics were the 
standard bag of tricks available to regular physicians. Homeo- 
paths and eclectics, along with lay healers, used a wide assort- 
ment of herbs, and many claimed high rates of cures. By the 
1880s the regular profession still had only a few drugs that were 
widely recognized to be curative: Quinine could save the victim of 
malaria, mercury could cure syphilis, and digitalis was often 
successful in treating heart disorders. ^^ 

The field of disease prevention was somewhat more success- 
ful. In the eighteenth century weahhy Europeans and Americans 
adopted the practice of variolation, a somewhat dangerous 
inoculation against smallpox used in the East for centuries. In 
1798 Edward Jenner introduced inoculation with cowpox that was 
effective and somewhat safer than variolation.^^ 

By the time of the third major cholera epidemic in the United 
States in 1866, the notion that cholera was a specific and con- 
tagious disease had finally won near-unanimous support from 
the medical profession, joining the already strong popular belief 
in its contagion. Medical support for cleaning up the accumulated 
fihh in American cities won the backing of the business class and 
helped prevent the spread of cholera and the high death rates that 
had characterized the previous epidemics. The success of this 
preventive effort was credited to sanitary engineering and 
brought increased support for sanitation programs. ^^ 

Despite the scant results, leading practitioners and the new 
class of medical researchers sustained their faith in the eventual 
success of medical science. The major breakthroughs came from 
Europe in the 1880s and 1890s. In 1883 and 1884 Edwin Klebs 
and Friedrich Loeffler isolated the germ involved in diphtheria, a 
major killer in the nineteenth century. Emil von Behring and his 
coworkers produced a diphtheria antitoxin in the early 1890s, 
which although of little significance in reducing the death toll 
from diphtheria, supported the belief that deadly epidemics that 
were borne with resignation could in fact be prevented by 
understanding their causes.^® 

These and other discoveries in the 1880s and 1890s were 
lauded around the world. Medical science benefited with new 
respect and political and financial support. Success indeed paved 
the road to fortune. The German government provided laborato- 
ries for Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich. In France popular 

Scientific Medicine 1/77 

contributions supplied a research institute for Louis Pasteur. In 
England and Japan private philanthropy paid for new medical 
research institutes. 

In the United States private and government support for 
medical research lagged behind these other countries. Veterinary 
medicine received help from the Department of Agriculture to 
stem epidemics that were wiping out livestock investments. 
Government officials and philanthropists saw little value in 
researching human disease, as Richard Shryock notes, ''partly 
because of the nature of medical science prior to 1885 and partly 
because human welfare brought no direct financial return. Hogs 
did."-'' Discoveries of the 1880s and 1890s, however, held out the 
promise that as science uncovered the germs that caused the great 
pestilences, further investigation would provide not only cures 
but methods for guarding against infection and for preventing the 
spread of epidemics. These expectations guided the lives of 
medical researchers, but they were also spreading rapidly among 
the middle classes and those who owned and managed America's 
new industrial empires. 

Medical science rescued the medical profession, in particular 
the practitioners, from the widespread lack of confidence in their 
effectiveness. These few but significant discoveries, mostly in 
bacteriology, increased the belief in the technical effectiveness of 
the profession as a whole. The actual impact of progress against 
infectious disease was not nearly so great as its proponents 
claimed. The arsenal of effective weapons against diseases did not 
increase spectacularly, but its limited advances did provide the 
basis for persuading the public that scientific medicine reflected 
on all members of the profession — practitioners as well as 
researchers — who had been trained in the theory and methods of 
scientific medical research. 

The slight increase in the effectiveness of the new medicine 
was embellished in propaganda by the profession and the media. 
From the 1890s on, popular magazines and newspapers joined the 
leading medical journals in praising the accomplishments and 
prophesying the future success of medical science. Articles 
ridiculing "Popular Medical Fallacies" and extolling the "Tri- 
umphs of Modern Medicine" and the "War Against Disease" 
appeared in many popular magazines as well as professional 
journals. They portrayed medicine as an "exact science" and the 

78 I Scientific Medicine I 

physician as an inquiring and skeptical scientist who avoids "hasty 
jumping at conclusions or too-ready dependence upon formu- 
lae. "^° 

The increased credibility of medicine was important in 
convincing the public that doctors with scientific medical training 
had an expertise worth paying for. If doctors could do little more 
for a patient than an herbal healer or a patent medicine, there 
was not much point in people wasting their money on expensive 
doctors' fees. Scientific medicine wrapped the modern doctor in 
an aura of therapeutic effectiveness, and the limited improve- 
ments gave support to that aura. Furthermore, the technical 
expertise associated with scientific medicine helped to mystify the 
role and work of the physician more effectively than did older 
notions of the etiology of disease, unpleasant remedies, and 
transparent codes of "ethics." Scientific medicine thereby sup- 
ported the claims of the profession for a monopoly of control over 
all heahng methods. These benefits provided the basis for other 
gains and were effective in undermining sectarian medicine, 
midwifery, and other forms of competition. 

In seeking to destroy its competitors' hold on the medical 
marketplace, the regular profession proffered scientific medicine 
as more effective than "medicine as art" and "sectarian medi- 
cine" and "quacks." Not only was it more effective, it was, as 
each sect before it had claimed, the only truly valid medicine. 
Scientific medicine was held up as the nonsectarian medical 
theory and practice — the only one based not on dogma but on 
verifiable truths. ''^ As the only valid medicine, it should be 
granted a monopoly of practice; "none but men and women who 
have an interest in scientific medicine" should be allowed to join 
any county medical society.*^ But making the claim was not 
equivalent to having it accepted. 

Folk medicine was still widely used in the United States, 
particularly in the countryside but also in the cities. Every family 
had its traditional remedies that were part of the family lore, 
believed in and passed down from generation to generation. 
Generally, the young woman's own family's remedies prevailed 
in her new family. "^^ Some of the remedies undoubtedly acted as 
placebos, but many were certainly effective in providing rehef 
and even cures. Such traditions were effective obstacles to the 
acceptance of scientific medicine. 

Scientific Medicine I I 79 

Most practitioners were also very pragmatic, developing a 
repertoire of skills and utilizing some new techniques that seemed 
effective and readily accepted by their patients. These country 
and city doctors were not much impressed by medical science. 
They saw it as a tool enabling them to heal more effectively when 
its claims worked and when its techniques did not require a whole 
new method of practice. 

Robert Pusey, a Kentucky country doctor who practiced in 
the 1870s and 1880s, used the clinical thermometer, assorted 
specula, and a syringe. Occasionally, he used the stethoscope 
although he preferred to place his ear to the patient's chest. With 
this simple method he could hear and distinguish most conditions 
as well as his scientifically trained son could with a stethoscope. 
He used judgments based on practice, read up on cases in the 
more concrete and concise medical texts, and distrusted journal 
articles. The older Dr. Pusey vaguely accepted bacteriology, 
especially as an explanation for infections causing pus but not 
generally for infectious diseases. He sometimes used calomel, 
made and sold his own drugs, did not use patent medicines, and 
often prescribed strichnine and arsenic as tonics. He practiced 
surgery in which he used chloroform as an anesthetic and asepsis 
when the knowledge and techniques became available to him."^"* 

The propaganda for scientific medicine was sure to be 
effective, but it would take time. John Shaw Billings, a leading 
medical reformer in the late nineteenth century, observed that 
doctors whose practices were not interfered with by quacks were 
indifferent to reforms while those in need of larger practices were 
more indignant about such competitors. Many quacks had 
effected cures where science had failed, Billings admitted. But 
rather than giving him pause in his rejection of any but scientific 
medical methods, Billings saw it as a tactical problem of 
persuading the American public that it is in their interests to 
suppress quackery. The remarkable achievements of medical 
science were being brought to the public, but, Billings cautioned, 
"it is necessary to go slowly and allow such evidence to 
accumulate. '"^^ 

The reformers believed scientific medicine would increase the 
technical effectiveness of the medical profession, and they 
promoted it as the only effective therapeutic method. Through 
propaganda they hoped to undermine public resistance to its use, 

80 I Scientific Medicine I 

increase the public demand for it, and thereby force practitioners 
to join the new "nonsectarian'' medicine. 


As scientific medicine won public and professional credibility, 
it also solved the second and fundamentally more serious 
problem facing the profession in the nineteenth century: competi- 

Plagued by competition among numerous medical sects, 
between practitioners and medical school faculty, and within the 
"crowded" ranks of regular practitioners themselves, the profes- 
sion was saved from its own internal competitive struggles by the 
triumph of scientific medicine. First, the technical requirements 
of teaching scientific medicine provided several advantages for 
the profession's elite. Second, scientific medicine forged new 
unity in the interests of elite practitioners and medical school 
faculty. Third, as it gained increasingly widespread legitimacy, 
scientific medicine undermined the major medical sects. It 
thereby imposed unity among those sects in their subordination 
to the dominant forces in the profession. And, finally, medical 
science made possible specialization which was largely a response 
to competition within medicine. The overall impact of scientific 
medicine within the profession was to legitimize control by elite 
practitioners and medical school faculty. 



Making the doctor the purveyor of a broad range of skills 
within a context of mystified knowledge required extensive and 
esoteric training. Nineteenth-century medical reformers envi- 
sioned the physician as a bedside scientist. Medical practitioners 
must think and talk like scientists. They must be trained in 
anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, pathology, pharmacology, 
and the physical sciences. They must think of health and disease, 
not holistically as general relationships between bodily systems or 

Scientific Medicine I I 81 

between the person and the environment, but in terms of the 
micro-concepts of physiology and anatomy, bacteriology and cell 
pathology. These sciences and their reductionist concepts were 
gradually recognized in the late nineteenth century as the 
foundations of medical education. 

The medical schools of the last century were staffed by 
practitioners, often very talented men who were heavy on the 
"art" but less expert on the "science." Increasingly, laboratory 
science courses were taken away from the local practitioner and 
given to physicians with special training in the laboratory 
sciences. The new academic physicians who preferred these 
laboratory sciences over medical practice prospered with the 
increased demand for more faculty with training in these fields. 
Those who could afford to spend a year or two studying in 
Germany or Austria after medical school had secure, if not 
lucrative, academic careers awaiting them on their return. 

In 1893 Johns Hopkins became the first medical school in the 
United States to employ these laboratory men full time and to 
pay them salaries that enabled them to devote all their time and 
energy to research and teaching. The new full-time organization 
of the laboratory science faculty was hailed as a great advance for 
American medical education. It was quickly adopted by other 
elite schools and gradually became the norm emulated by the 
average institution. Although the laboratory science faculty gave 
up private practice incomes of $10,000 a year and more in return 
for salaries of $3,000 or $4,000, there were more than enough 
people to fill the demand. "^^ 

Some of the giants of medical reform, like William H. Welch, 
loathed medical practice, feared the insecurity of competition 
among private practitioners, and longed for the opportunity to 
pursue medical research without the diversions of maintaining a 
private clientele. Before going off to Europe in 1876 to advance 
his medical science skills, Welch confided to his sister his fears of 
trying to set up "by hook or by crook a patronage of some kind." 
Echoing the pipe dreams of most medical graduates, Welch 
observed, "it is much finer to hold a chair in a medical college, 
and to have a salary . . . and to be sought by patients instead of 
seeking them." His studies abroad would give him a jump on his 
competitors: "If by absorbing a little German lore I can get a httle 

82 I Scientific Medicine I 

start of a few thousand rivals and thereby reduce my competitors 
to a few hundred more or less, it is a good point to tally.'"*'' 

The emphasis on scientific medicine thus created unprece- 
dented job opportunities for physicians qua medical scientists. As 
positions expanded, a core of professionals developed who were 
more dedicated than ever to seeing medicine as science complete- 
ly displace medicine as art. These medical scientists' interests and 
identification were bound up solely with medical schools and 
not with private practice. As the vanguard of the profession's 
successful strategy and the recipients of millions of dollars in 
capital investments in medical research and education, the new 
medical academicians became the symbol of the new profession. 
In the 1890s, for the first time in the United States, the medical 
profession came to exalt the scientist over the practitioner. "** 
Despite their more modest, middle-class incomes, the scientists 
were the new elite in the profession. 

The faculty at the most prestigious schools won their profes- 
sional reputations on the basis of their research contributions to 
their fields. The best reputations attracted the best students and 
the wealthiest patients. In 1903 Wilham Halsted, a famous sur- 
geon on the Johns Hopkins faculty, got $10,000 for an appendec- 
tomy, and his colleague, Howard Kelly, charged $20,000 for a 
major operation."*^ Unlike the old-time medical faculties, whose 
material interests were enhanced by student fees and referrals 
from their many former students, the new academicians' mate- 
rial interests were tied to the promotion of medical science. It 
was in their interests to raise the standards of medical schools 
and to make scientific medicine the only acceptable theory and 

The predominant type of medical school, owned by the 
faculty and existing on student fees, prospered as long as 
enrollments could be kept high and costs low. However, practi- 
tioners would prosper only if the production of physicians was 
decreased, reducing competition within the profession. This 
conflict of economic interests had divided elite practitioners from 
medical school faculty throughout the nineteenth century. The 
ascendancy of scientific medicine transformed the old conflict 
into the basis for an alliance between the scientific medical 
faculties and elite practitioners. 

Scientific Medicine I I 83 

The interests of the new medical scientists in medical educa- 
tion were thus tied to the dominance of scientific medicine and 
not to large numbers of students or even large numbers of 
medical schools. They joined the elite practitioners as the leaders 
of reform in the profession. Together they gained control of the 
AMA at the turn of the century and completely reorganized it to 
make the AMA the profession's instrument of political action as 
we know it today and to use it and the leading medical schools to 
alter completely the technical, economic, and social forces within 
the medical profession. 

The technical requirements of developing and teaching scien- 
tific medicine sharpened the distinction between laboratory 
science faculty and practitioners, provided new and expanding 
job opportunities for medical scientists, and hoisted them to ehte 
and influential positions within the profession. At the same time 
these developments provided the basis for the aUiance between 
these new elite faculty and the elite practitioners, giving them 
sufficient power to take control of the profession and transform 

"fewer and better" 

As a professional consensus developed around scientific 
medicine, the scientific medical faculty and elite practitioners 
agreed upon "objective" criteria for judging medical schools. The 
needs of scientific medical education were pretty clear cut. If 
students are to be trained as medical scientists, they need to be 
taught the biological and physical sciences, and they need to be 
taught how to apply the principles they learn in those sciences to 
the diseases of real people. Experience as well as common sense 
argued for laboratory courses in the sciences and hospital 
experience for the clinical appHcation of those sciences: Learning 
how is at least as important as learning about. 

The technical requirements of teaching scientific medicine 
suggest fairly clear criteria for judging medical schools. If the 
premise of training scientists is accepted, then any worthy 
medical program must have adequate laboratory facilities, clini- 
cal teaching facilities, and well-trained laboratory and clinical 

While the criteria of what is "adequate" might be (and were) 

84 I Scientific Medicine I 

argued, the standards were set by those who secured positions of 
power. The AMA became the vehicle for poHtical action within 
the profession and the larger society. The reformers used the 
technical requirements of training medical scientists to set 
standards and then evaluate medical schools according to those 
standards. With a few exceptions — Johns Hopkins the shining 
example among them — virtually all nineteenth-century medical 
colleges were weak when judged by these standards. 

Unquestionably, scientific medical education was and is an 
expensive affair. The capital outlays for laboratories and hospital 
facilities were beyond the resources of most nineteenth-century 
and early twentieth-century medical schools. Student lecture fees 
could not cover the larger salaries for faculty who devoted 
substantial time to research and teaching, let alone the increas- 
ingly widespread full-time salaries for laboratory science faculty. 
No medical school could exist on student fees and at the same 
time provide these increasingly necessary medical science pro- 
grams for their students. 

In some states, students who graduated from medical colleges 
that did not have these programs, facilities, and personnel were 
barred from taking licensing examinations. Increasingly, state 
exams were geared to the information and perspectives provided 
in scientifically oriented schools, and graduates of inadequately 
equipped schools failed their licensing exams with increasing 
frequency. ^° Since the schools were supported by students' fees 
and students had little incentive to attend a school that did not 
prepare them to pass state board exams, inadequate schools lost 
out in the competitive market for enrollees and their money. 
AMA president Charles Reed observed in 1901, "Under the 
pressure of legal requirements the weight falls with almost fatal 
force upon the small, private and poorly equipped institutions."^^ 
The technical requirements of scientific medical education thus 
brought about the conditions of collapse of proprietary medical 
schools. As Abraham Flexner later noted, "Nothing has perhaps 
done more to complete the discredit of commercialism than the 
fact that it has ceased to pay. It is but a short step from an annual 
deficit to the conclusion that the whole thing is wrong anyway."" 

In Chapter 4 we will see how these conditions provided an 
opportunity for the AMA and capitalist foundations to transform 
medical education in the United States. For the moment it is 

Scientific Medicine I I 85 

enough to note that without sufficient capital and endowments, 
no medical school could survive in the era of scientific medicine. 
Schools collapsed and consolidated all over the country beginning 
in 1905, coinciding with the first year of serious activity by the 
AMA's new Council on Medical Education. Between 1905 and 
1910, thirty schools merged and twenty-one closed down alto- 
gether." The number of medical schools declined from a high of 
166 in 1904 to 133 in 1910, 104 in 1915, and hit a low of 
seventy-six in 1929. In the reorganization of medical schools the 
number of students was reduced at many institutions in order to 
intensify the teaching and research resources within each school. 
Thus the technical requirements of scientific medical education 
were used to close schools and decrease the production of new 
physicians, easing the competition within the profession and 
raising doctors' incomes. 

Furthermore, scientific medical education "required" greater 
prehminary education. Students must come to medical school, it 
was argued, having had a full year each of college chemistry, 
physics, and biology. 

The demands for stringent requirements of preliminary edu- 
cation were not new to the era of scientific medicine. In eigh- 
teenth-century and nineteenth-century England, where "physi- 
cians" were a tiny elite above surgeons and apothecaries, it was 
essential for physicians to be regarded as gentlemen. Because 
they practiced only among the wealthy, it was important to their 
pocketbooks to be able to mingle with the upper class. As 
professions developed, a liberal education became the mark of 
upper-class origins. "It might not make you a gentleman," W. J. 
Reader has observed, "but without it a gentleman you could 
hardly hope to be."^"^ In the United States as well, a college 
education was the mark of a gentleman. For those who were not 
born into a privileged class, a college education — if it could be 
gotten — "rubbed the raw edge off many a country boy," giving 
them sufficiently proper appearances to make their way to a 
higher social class. ^^ 

It is not surprising then that substantial educational require- 
ments had been declared an imperative in the mid-nineteenth 
century because it would assure that doctors would be gentlemen. 
Daniel Drake, probably the most illustrious American physician 
of the midcentury, criticized his colleagues' ignorance of Latin 

86 I Scientific Medicine I 

and Greek without which, "whatever may be his genius and 
professional skill," a physician would still necessarily "appear 
defective and uncultivated."^^ This persistent concern was echoed 
by Johns Hopkins' famous Dr. Welch who wrote in 1906, "The 
social position of the medical man and his influence on the 
community depend to a considerable extent upon his preliminary 
education and general culture."^'' 

Elite physicians frequently complained of the "coarse and 
common fiber" of much of the profession. ^^ Even a minority of 
the profession lacking upper-class polish cheapened the status of 
all doctors. The proliferation of inexpensive proprietary schools 
enabled a young man to live at home while attending medical 
school and thereby made medicine a ladder that some farm boys, 
artisans, and shop clerks could climb to middle-class status and 
income. It was not only the inadequacies in the training provided 
in commercial colleges that angered the elite reformers; it was 
also whom they brought into the profession. Frank Billings, in his 
presidential address to the AM A in 1903, disdained "these 
sundown institutions" that provided evening classes and enabled 
"the clerk, the streetcar conductor, the janitor and others 
employed during the day to earn a degree. "^^ 

Prior to the acceptance of scientific medicine, attempts to 
lengthen the medical school term of instruction and raise pre- 
liminary education requirements were met with charges of 
elitism. "There is an aristocratic feature in this movement" by 
medical societies, Martyn Paine, a faculty member in the New 
York University medical department, asserted in 1846. "It is 
oppression towards the poor, for the sake of crippHng the medical 
colleges. "^^ 

Even after the turn of the century some education leaders 
warned against excluding the poor from medicine. In 1908, W. L. 
Bryan, president of Indiana University, criticized the Association 
of American Medical Colleges' proposed requirement of two 
years attendance at a liberal arts college prior to admission. 
Raising the entrance requirement would "shui out of the medical 
schools thousands of men who are not ignorant nor incompetent" 
but who would be excluded because "poverty and other hard 
conditions" have kept them from the colleges. ^^ The profession's 
objective was exactly that — to exclude the poorer classes from 
their ranks. 

Scientific Medicine I I 87 

Scientific medicine provided an "objective" basis for requir- 
ing a lengthy preliminary education. If students had to come 
prepared with college courses in physics, chemistry, and biology, 
then there could be no argument against lengthening the require- 
ments. The standard-setting schools raised their requirements 
from completion of high school to two years of liberal arts college 
and finally to a bachelor's degree. From the moment it opened its 
doors in 1893, Johns Hopkins medical school led the way by 
requiring a bachelor's degree for admission and four years of 
instruction for its prestigious M.D. degree. When Harvard 
instituted the baccalaureate requirement in 1901, its entering 
medical class dropped from an all-time high of 198 students the 
previous year to sixty-seven.^^ The preliminary education re- 
quirements were several steps ahead of the great majority of 
American youth and enabled the profession to draw its recruits 
from the "better" classes. 

Was this an unintended outcome of the technical "require- 
ments" of medical education, or was it the desired outcome for 
which scientific medicine provided the mere rationale? Given the 
goals of professional leaders throughout the nineteenth century 
— to reduce the numbers of physicians and to raise the social- 
class standing of the profession— it seems that scientific medicine 
provided the credible rationale that all previous generations of 
medical elites had sought in vain. The preHminary requirement 
would weed out the economically and socially "unfit." Some 
reformers justified this selectivity by the cost of scientific med- 
ical education. "It does not pay to give a $5,000 education to 
a $5 boy," intoned John Shaw Billings in 1886 while helping to 
organize Johns Hopkins medical training." But most elite physi- 
cians simply desired to eliminate "professional degeneracy," as 
Dr. Inez Philbrick put it at the turn of the century. Philbrick, a 
successful practitioner in Lincoln, Nebraska, rallied his colleagues 
to "Let fewer and better be our motto. '"^^ 

In sum, the technical requirements of scientific medical 
education gave new career opportunities to physicians as medical 
scientists, creating a whole new position of full-time researcher 
and teacher and a new group of elite medical school faculty who 
combined a material interest in medical schools with a commit- 
ment to promoting scientific medicine. At the same time these 
technical requirements of the new medical education provided 

88 I Scientific Medicine I 

the standards and the rationale for reducing the output of medical 
schools and raising the social class base of the entire profession. 


As scientific medicine gained increasingly wide acceptance, it 
undermined the other medical sects. Scientific medicine thereby 
forged unity within the profession by enabling the AMA to 
subordinate the sects to its own standards of medical education 
and practice. Overwhelmed by the increased claims of technical 
effectiveness for scientific medicine, the major sects began 
incorporating scientific medicine into their own doctrines and 

Homeopathy, the most formidable competitor of the regu- 
lar professions in the nineteenth century, gradually dropped its 
unique features. Most homeopathic physicians in America broke 
with pure homeopathic theory in the mid-nineteenth century, 
taking what they believed valid from regular medicine and 
discarding especially heroic therapies. They purged the purists 
from their ranks by founding homeopathic medical colleges, 
previously believed unnecessary, and requiring training in gener- 
al medical skills, including surgery. ^^ Most midcentury American 
homeopaths were regular physicians unhappy with the ineffec- 
tiveness of regular medicine and with its growing unpopularity. In 
1849, 1,000 Ohio physicians and lay people, disaffected by the 
orthodox profession's inability to reheve suffering during the 
cholera epidemic, organized a homeopathic society in Cincin- 

The direct competition that homeopathy posed to regular 
physicians led to campaigns to exclude them from medical 
societies and hospital privileges. The Massachusetts Medical 
Society began excluding homeopaths in 1860. By the 1870s there 
was a general attack, led by the AMA, on homeopathy and other 
"exclusive systems of medicine." Physicians violated the AMA 
code of ethics if they consulted with sectarian physicians or 
female or black doctors. In the 1870s the restrictions against 
female physicians were rescinded under pressure from the 
growing women's rights movement, and the exclusion of blacks 
was relaxed though local medical societies and hospitals openly 

Scientific Medicine I I 89 

continued their racist practices. But the attacks on "irregular" 
doctors continued throughout the century.^'' 

By the end of the nineteenth century, nearly all homeopaths 
were using both regular and homeopathic drugs. Leading homeo- 
paths announced that the great majority of homeopathic doctors 
did not beheve in infinitesimal doses, rejected the universality of 
the law of "like cures Hke," and generally used drugs like regular 
physicians. Homeopaths also became interested in clinical spe- 
cialties. In 1899 the American Institute of Homeopathy redefined 
a homeopathic physician as "one who adds to his knowledge of 
medicine a special knowledge of homeopathic therapeutics."^® 
Homeopathy, as well as other sects, were being overcome by the 
competition from scientific medicine. 

Nonetheless, the continued popularity of homeopathy and 
eclectic medicine and the incomplete acceptance of scientific 
medicine made it difficult for regular professional leaders to win 
exclusive licensing privileges in the states. With the convergence 
in practice and education of homeopaths, eclectics, and regular 
physicians, it was possible to assure the dominance of scientific 
training and politically necessary to ignore, for the moment, the 
sectarian separations. Only through the combined efforts of the 
regular and "irregular" profession could laws be secured to 
restrict medical practice to scientifically trained physicians. The 
profession's leaders around the country agreed with William 
Osier, the most eminent American physician of his day, who 
advised the Maryland state medical society in 1891, "if we wish 
legislation for the protection of the public, we have got to ask for 
it together, not singly. "^^ And together they asked. 

Beginning in the 1870s, state legislatures established medical 
Hcensing examination boards. In 1873 Texas passed the first 
modern medical practice act, a morale-boosting victory to the 
profession that offset the bitter memories of the Jacksonian era's 
repeal of licensure. The Illinois Board of Health, the state's 
licensing agency, was a model for the nation. Beginning in 1880, 
it began to hst American and Canadian medical schools according 
to qualitative criteria set by the Association of American Medical 
Colleges, an organization of elite, scientifically oriented institu- 
tions. ^° 

Nonregular doctors participated in some way in medical 
licensing in at least thirty-three of the forty-five states that had 

90 I Scientific Medicine I 

enacted licensing laws by 1900. Physicians from at least two sects 
served on the same licensing boards in twenty states.^' By 
cooperating in licensure, the nonregular profession won inclusion 
among the respectable. With scientific medicine gaining ground 
every year, it appeared to the leaders of homeopathy that they 
had nothing to lose and everything to gain from their association 
with the regular profession. The president of the AMA even 
acknowledged in 1901 that "with broadened and increasingly 
uniform curricula" it made little sense to argue that competing 
sects did not share the profession's competence. '- 

The reform leaders in the regular profession won the biggest 
rewards. By cooperating with the nonregular sects, they won 
licensing laws that recognized scientifically oriented reforms as 
the only valid basis of medical education. In a short time they 
secured complete control of licensing and the resources for 
medical education reform. Whether these elite professionals 
foresaw their ultimate gain from cooperating with the homeo- 
paths and eclectics or they were guided by expedience undiluted 
by strategy, the cooperative licensing efforts hastened the 
elimination of sectarianism amid the growing chorus of support 
for scientific medicine. 

By 1903 the AMA adopted the strategy explicitly. At its 
annual convention the delegates voted to eliminate the decades- 
old exclusion of physicians who were trained as homeopaths or 
eclectics but chose not to "designate" themselves as such.''^ Two 
years earlier AMA president Charles Reed had drawn attention 
to the good effects of allowing all licensed physicians into state 
medical societies. By ending its exclusionary policy, he said, the 
New York society had reduced the registration of sectarian 
physicians by "nearly ninety percent."'"* 

Scientific medicine was perhaps more effective than homeo- 
pathy and eclecticism in treating some diseases for which it had 
developed cures, but it was not, particularly at the turn of the 
century, the panacea it was believed to be. The reformers' overly 
optimistic assessment is shared by many contemporary medical 
historians. WiUiam Rothstein, for example, maintains that "sects 
could survive in medicine only so long as medically valid 
therapies constituted a smnU part of the therapies used by 
physicians. Once medically valid therapies became the dominant 

Scientific Medicine I I 91 

part of medical practice, medical sectarianism declined marked- 

In reality the number of medically effective therapies had not 
increased significantly in the first few years of this century, the 
period when sectarianism declined in medicine.''^ Rather the 
campaign to win acceptance for scientific medicine struck a 
responsive cultural chord among the new technical and manageri- 
al groups associated with industrial capitalism and with the media 
they controlled. The campaign established a popular belief in the 
broad effectiveness of scientific medicine and, together with 
political action by elite medical reformers, undermined the 
medical sects that competed with the regular profession. 


Advances in medical science during the late nineteenth 
century rapidly developed the technical basis for some physicians 
to offer highly specialized expertise not available from the 
ordinary practitioner. Medical advances were presumably usable 
by any physician, but in reality only those who studied a 
particular area developed the expertise to apply techniques and 
inventions. The ophthalmoscope, invented by Helmholz in 1851, 
required considerable study and practice to know what to look for 
on the other side of the cornea. Anesthetics, antisepsis, and 
asepsis made surgery a relatively safer procedure, but the masters 
of surgical techniques were those who devoted their entire 
practice to it. 

The very existence of medical specialization rested upon a 
reductionist analysis of the body and disease. Its concrete 
development was made possible by advances in medical science. 
Nevertheless, specialization among practitioners was encouraged 
by economic competition within the profession and grew to take 
advantage of the new market for more technical, seemingly, more 
scientific medical services. 

With dissatisfaction rampant among more ambitious members 
of the profession, some 15,000 American physicians studied 
medicine in Germany alone. They returned to reap the benefits 
of their advanced training and confidence to specialize in some 
branch of clinical medicine. '"^ Successful specialists soon earned 

92 I Scientific Medicine I 

more than twice as much as the better-off general practitioners.''* 
Elite, scientifically oriented physicians saw specialization as a 
solution for themselves in the competitive medical market. 

The demand for specialists grew with the urban upper middle 
class. Patients whose own social position was based on the growth 
of technology and industrialization sought out physicians whose 
practice suggested the same world view. Gynecological theory 
viewed most female disease as being rooted in or associated with 
uterine problems. As Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English 
have amply demonstrated, Victorian femininity itself was associ- 
ated with invahdism and physical and emotional frailty. Women 
of the "better" classes were defined as sick in order to support 
their role as social ornamentation, demonstrating the financial 
and social success of their husbands and distinguishing them from 
lower-class women who were expected to work and were 
considered sickening.''^ 

Gynecological surgeons preyed upon the supposedly delicate 
nature of upper middle-class women and the terrible consequenc- 
es of having a "tipped" uterus or sexual appetite. Hysterecto- 
mies, ovariotomies, and cliteridectomies were prescribed for 
these and other female maladies. Some gynecologists, like 
Horatio Bigelow writing in the AMA Journal in 1885, favored a 
"conservative" approach over too rash use of the knife or 
mechanical devices. He believed that better results could be 
obtained "by attention to every detail of life, even the most 
insignificant, for the aggregation of the little things go to the 
making of the big ones, and also, by attention to psychical 
conditions and reactions. "*° Such attention, of course, required 
daily visits from the doctor. 

Gynecologists tailored their medical theories to the prevailing 
notions of the place of women in society and thereby developed a 
new and lucrative medical market. Upper-class women became 
the objects of knife-wielding gynecological surgeons or the 
invalided captives of overly "attentive" gynecological practition- 
ers. From the early 1890s abdominal and pelvic surgery seemed 
the profession's own Gold Rush, and surgeons were, in the words 
of the AMA Journal, "as restless and ambitious a throng as ever 
fought for fame upon the battlefield."** 

General practitioners obviously suffered to the extent that 
their patients went to specialists with complaints the GPs 

Scientific Medicine I I 93 

formerly treated. From the 1850s onward, the GP-dominated 
medical societies attacked what they viewed as unfair competi- 
tion. In 1874 the AMA's judicial council ruled that specialists 
could advertise only that their practices were ''limited to diseases 
peculiar to women" or "diseases of the eye and ear." Such 
restrictions on specialists denied the claims of scientific leaders 
that specialism was based on greater expertise not available to the 
general practitioner. Moreover, few physicians at that time could 
completely limit their practices to specialties since specialization 
was not yet widely enough accepted.*^ 

Conditions soon changed, at least in large and medium-size 
cities. Specialists promoted the medical sciences through their 
own societies. Following a rebuff by the AMA, which named a 
committee of medically conservative professionals instead of 
distinguished medical scientists to host the 1887 International 
Medical Congress, specialists and other medical scientists formed 
the Association of American Physicians. In 1888 all national 
specialty societies formed an alliance outside the AMA in the 
American Congress of Physicians and Surgeons. In the last years 
of the nineteenth century, as scientific medicine increased and the 
economic base of specialism grew more secure, membership in 
scientific societies increased — particularly in Eastern cities where 
medical centers were beginning to dominate medicine — while 
membership in the AMA languished.*^ 

Medical specialty societies were intended not only to promote 
development of the specialty but also to gain acceptance of the 
specialists by general practitioners. Even though they were 
competitors, specialists relied heavily on referrals from other 
physicians for much of their practice. GeneraUsts had to be 
induced to refer their difficult cases to other physicians. To 
encourage referrals, many, if not most specialists, gave a portion 
of their fee to the doctor who made the referral. *"* Fee-splitting 
became a widespread practice to control competition and gain 
acceptance of specialists by GPs. 

Fee-splitting, however, was a private tool of individuals used 
to soften competitive relations among themselves. For fee- 
splitting to be used collectively by the organized profession would 
require an open admission of its existence and legitimacy within 
the profession. That would have been worse than the competition 
that fee-splitting was attempting to regulate because it was a 

94 I Scientific Medicine I 

purely commercial arrangement that undercut professional claims 
of expertise and privilege. It thereby reduced public confidence in 
physicians and further weakened the social and poHtical position 
of the profession. Fee-splitting could not resolve conflicting 
interests between specialists and GPs at the national level. 

Ultimately, the development of specialties and subspecialties 
has indeed reduced overall competition within the medical pro- 
fession. The ratio of primary care physicians has fallen from more 
than 170 per 100,000 population in 1900 to less than sixty per 
100,000 today. ^^ But the division of physician labor into special- 
ties created intraprofessional problems, pitting general practi- 
tioner against specialist. The decline in primary care physicians 
has eased the problem somewhat, but it was still a serious split 
in the ranks at the turn of the century and an obstacle to the 
efforts of the scientifically oriented elite practitioners and medical 
faculty who led the reform movement. 

New levels of accreditation of specialists emerged in the 
twentieth century. The American College of Surgeons was 
charged with being elitist and un-American for its efforts to 
restrict surgery to specially licensed physicians and to accredited 
hospitals. In 1912 Franklin Martin's public relations tour for the 
College of Surgeons was interrupted with heckhng by hostile 
GPs. The college fellows were accused either of degrading the 
profession by forming "a glorified surgical union, along labor 
lines" or of estabUshing a new oligarchy, "an exclusive Four 
Hundred in the profession. "^^ 

The reform leadership gathering in the wings of the AMA 
included many leading specialists, but they saw the importance of 
putting the interests of the profession as a whole at the forefront 
of their campaign. After failing in 1898, they succeeded in 1901 
and 1902 in their efforts to reorganize the AMA into a more 
effective national organization. Their strategy included the 
delicate issue of unifying the competing specialists and general 
practitioners and bringing the specialists into the profession's 
main political arm — the AMA. 


Scientific medicine was clearly an effective doctrine for the 
reform and uplift of the medical profession. It increased the 

Scientific Medicine I I 95 

technical effectiveness of doctors, providing a basis for increasing 
public confidence in the profession. The need for research and 
the teaching of medical sciences created a whole new category of 
academic medicine. It united the interests of these academic 
physicians, who sought total victory for scientific medical schools 
over less adequate ones, with the interests of elite practitioners, 
who wanted to reduce production of and competition among 
doctors in order to raise their incomes and status. The require- 
ments of scientific medical education strained the resources of 
"commercial" medical education to the breaking point, closing 
down many medical schools and reducing the production of 
physicians. It also provided the rationale for requiring extensive 
preliminary education of medical school applicants, forcing the 
poorer classes out of medicine and thereby raising the social class 
base of the profession. Furthermore, scientific medicine under- 
mined sectarian medicine, uniting most of the divided profession 
under the banner of "nonsectarian" scientific medicine. Finally, it 
provided a basis for further decreasing competition within the 
profession through the development of specialization. Thus, 
scientific medicine helped complete the professionalization of 

These gains to the medical profession were accompanied by 
some losses. Some of the losses were borne by less powerful 
members of the profession. The gains of specialists, the new elite 
among practitioners, were the losses of the general practitioners. 
Scientific medicine provided the profession's scientific elite with 
the means of securing its position and taking complete control. 

While society benefited from more effective techniques 
against infectious diseases, people lost the benefits of traditional 
techniques and became dependent on technological medicine. 
The propaganda of the reform-minded elite sold scientific medi- 
cine as the last word on matters of health and disease. Through 
their campaign, the medical profession excluded herbal methods 
of prevention and therapy that are only now regaining popular- 
ity. They also narrowed the scope of medical inquiry to reduc- 
tionist concepts, all but ignoring the social and economic contexts 
of health and disease. 

The doctor was portrayed as omniscient and his skill as all- 
powerful. Patients, accepting the profession's claims and want- 
ing something for their money, began to expect their doctors 

96 I Scientific Medicine I 

to provide remedies for their suffering. Not wanting to discourage 
this profitable attitude, most physicians beheved that, in the 
words of a late nineteenth-century physician, "he fails of his duty 
and his privilege who neglects to do something for the patient."*'' 
However, even this lucrative attribution of physician omniscience 
was a double-edged sword. Armed with assurances of the near- 
infallibility of medical science, patients demanded compensation 
when they were maimed by the therapies or mistakes of scien- 
tific doctors. The number of malpractice suits from 1900 to 1915 
exceeded the number of suits during the entire nineteenth cen- 

Naturally, the most oppressed groups in society suffered the 
most from the complete professionalization of medicine made 
possible by scientific medicine. The poorer classes in general and 
ethnic and racial minorities in particular have suffered doubly — 
by being excluded from entering the profession and by losing 
medical care that was indigenous to their communities and 
accessible to them. By the early 1900s people who could afford 
specialists increasingly relied on them, often by-passing the 
general practitioner altogether. The poor filled the waiting rooms 
and examining tables of teaching hospitals to become the teach- 
ing and research material for interns, residents, and specialists. 
The nation's wage earners, excluded from charity clinics by means 
tests and often unable to afford private specialists' fees, became 
the bread-and-butter clients of the nonelite general practitioners.*' 
Following the largely successful doctors' campaigns to rid the 
country of midwives, working-class and rural women and men 
lost the services that helped maintain the integrity of their fami- 
nes during the disruption of childbirth and found themselves hav- 
ing to pay the higher fees of physicians and the cost of a hospital 
bed.'° Women suffered from unnecessary surgery and suffocating 
attention from gynecologists. They, like the working class and 
racial minorities in general, were also excluded from becoming 

The fewer physicians competing for consumers' dollars, the 
higher physicians' incomes rose and the fewer doctors who 
practiced in working-class and poor sections of the cities and in 
the countryside. The middle class became the main source of 
income for the majority of the profession. As Morris Fishbein, 
editor of the AMA Journal, complacently observed in 1927, "The 

Scientific Medicine I I 97 

physician of the future will deal largely with this group. From 
them most of the physicians, who are themselves of the middle 
class, will derive their incomes."^' 

The dynamics that lifted white middle-class and upper-class 
male physicians to the top of a hierarchy were not based on 
conspiracies or conscious deceptions. Physicians acted in their 
collective self-interest. While the different interest groups with- 
in the profession often clashed, their conflicts were gradually 
overwhelmed by the growing belief that all who embraced scien- 
tific medicine would benefit. Old-time homeopaths and eclectics, 
of course, fell by the wayside, and proprietors of crassly commer- 
cial medical schools lost their lucrative businesses. But most 
physicians could relate to the purposes of the reform campaign — 
more respect for their skills, higher social status, more money — 
and to the necessary means of achieving them. Undoubtedly con- 
spiracies and conscious deceptions occured along the way (we will 
see some examples in Chapter 4), but even the reform leaders 
believed their mission would benefit society as well as the med- 
ical profession. Nevertheless, it strains the imagination to con- 
clude that the complete professionalization of medicine served 
the interests of more than a small minority of the population. 

The technical limitations of nineteenth-century medicine were 
replaced by technical narrowness in the twentieth century; the 
professional pluralism, by professional monopoly controlled by 
elite specialists and medical academicians; the culturally diverse 
and widely distributed group of healers, by a more fully stratified 
and, for many, inaccessible professional class. These were some, 
of society's losses that accompanied the profession's gains. The 
consolidation of a scientific medical profession, however, also 
provided important gains for the corporate class in America. 


Scientific Medicine II: 
The Preservation of Capital 

Scientific medicine, while providing well for the medical profes- 
sion, also posed a major and unresolvable contradiction for 
doctors. Medical science, as it developed in capitalist countries, 
was built up around technology. The higher the level of technolo- 
gy, it was believed, the more effective or, at least, salable were 
the services of practitioners and researchers. But the higher the 
level of technology, the more capital was required for medical 
practice as well as for research. Investments in hospital and 
laboratory facilities and tremendous expenses for highly special- 
ized faculty and researchers were beyond the resources of 
physicians themselves.^ Doctors had to turn outside the profes- 
sion for capital, and in 1900 there was only one class who had 
such money. Wealthy capitalists were in a position to dictate 
terms to the profession — policies that served their own interests 
as much as or even more than those of the profession itself. In this 
chapter we will see how medical science opened the door to 
capitalist intervention and the ways scientific medicine served not 
only the needs of the medical profession but the interests of 
capitalism as well. 


The nineteenth-century family doctor owned a few instru- 
ments — specula, a thermometer, and a stethoscope for examina- 
tions, saws for amputations, a chest of medicines to be sold to 

Scientific Medicine II I 99 

their patients — a small investment indeed. But twentieth-century 
medicine required greater technology than any single physician 
could afford. Hospitals, once the institutions to which the poor 
were taken to die, became the workshop for the doctor. Not 
only did the hospital provide the doctor with fully equipped 
operating rooms, x-ray machines, and other diagnostic and 
therapeutic instruments. It also provided auxiliary personnel who 
would isolate patients from their families, place them under the 
control of technical experts, and insure that the doctor's orders 
were carried out. Just as the buggy carrying the doctor to the 
patient's house symbolized the nineteenth-century doctor-patient 
relationship, the patient in the doctor's moderately equipped 
office and then the doctor and patient in the hospital symbolized 
the modernized counterparts. 

Large-scale development of hospitals in the 1890s followed 
the development of surgery as a specialized skill. The renowned 
surgical skills of Halsted at Johns Hopkins and of others at the 
Mayo Clinic provided popular support for the profession's pleas 
that hospitals with modern surgical facilities be built. Rosemary 
Stevens notes, "Most of the hospitals now in existence were 
founded between 1880 and 1920, and the middle class for the first 
time entered hospitals on a large scale." In 1873 there were only 
178 hospitals in the United States. By 1909 there were 4,359 
hospitals with a total bed capacity of 421,000.^ 

Physicians grew increasingly dependent on hospitals. By 1929, 
seven out of ten physicians had some kind of hospital affiliation. 
In New York and Chicago, the average physician, whether gen- 
eralist or specialist, spent as much as 30 percent of his or her 
time in hospitals and clinics.^ Even by the turn of the century the 
medical profession was growing dependent on expensive, institu- 
tionalized technology. 

The capital needed for hospitals, medical education, and 
research was beyond the means of the profession itself. A fully 
equipped, medium-sized hospital was an expensive building 
project. Then, too, room and service charges could not reasona- 
bly be expected to pay for the annual costs of running the 
hospital, especially when hospitals were free-of-charge work- 
shops for the doctor. Patients could be expected to pay a certain 
amount for their hospital care, but beyond a very vaguely 
determined limit, any additional hospital charges would reduce 

100 I Scientific Medicine II 

utilization and cut into the revenues of both hospital and 
physician. Thus, each year hospitals accumulated deficits that had 
to be paid off. 

Deficit financing reflected the social role of hospitals as 
charitable institutions. Historically, from their development as 
medieval refuges for the diseased poor to their more recent role 
of providing for the sick of all classes, hospitals have consistently 
reflected the class structure of the society. Fitting their position in 
the class structure, the rich have been expected to pay the 
complete costs of their own private space and attentive care. The 
middle classes, with less commodious faciHties and fewer staff to 
attend to their wants, have been expected to pay their own costs 
but not necessarily to support all aspects of the hospital. The 
poor, until recently, have been expected to pay in accord with 
their means, and that has been very little. Their care has been 
categorized as charity, and, consistent with widespread notions of 
the importance of work and of the slothfulness of the poor, the 
facilities and care provided for them have been austere at their 
best and humihating at their worst. Furthermore, with the asso- 
ciation of increasing numbers of hospitals with medical schools, 
the poor have become the profession's research and teaching 
material. To complete the differentiation of class relations re- 
flected within the hospital as well as to balance the hospital's 
books, the rich have been called upon to give money to the hospi- 
tal to pay the costs of care given to the poor. The charitable 
nature of hospitals gives wealthy people an almost perfect 
opportunity to demonstrate their noblesse oblige within an 
institution that publicly reflects and thus reinforces the class 
structure of society. 

The organization and financing of hospitals clearly provides 
physicians with the facilities to practice their profession and make 
money, and it benefits the upper-middle and upper classes by 
providing them with facilities consistent with their social status 
and opportunities to demonstrate their superior class positions 
through charity to the hospital. The dependence of the medical 
profession on the wealthy could create antagonism, but with their 
compatible interests in the hospital, their relationship has been 
symbiotic. Local wealthy men and women opened their hearts 
and loosened their purse strings to hospital fund raisers. 

Medical research and medical education were different issues. 
Hospitals appealed to a local constituency whereas the new 

Scientific Medicine II I 101 

scientific medical schools drew their students and faculty from at 
least the state and more often a whole region or even the nation. 
Medical research was a long-term investment in developing new 
knowledge and technology that would serve the country as a 
whole rather than provide a subordinating service to the poor. 
Medical faculty and researchers were no longer the local physi- 
cians of distinction; their reputations were made nationally within 
their own ranks, or not at all. Local rich men and women could be 
cajoled into providing a laboratory at their nearby medical school 
through appeals to local pride, but these objects of charity lacked 
the drama of hospitals serving the poor and providing facihties for 
physicians known throughout the local community. Medical edu- 
cation and medical research involved much larger sums of money 
than hospital construction, and the endowments to support fac- 
ulty and researchers required still larger investments out of the 
wealth of the local upper class. 

The combination of the larger sums required, the less directly 
charitable and less visible functions of medical research and 
education, the long-term investments they represented, and the 
more national character of their appeal made medical education 
and medical research the philanthropic objects of a national 
wealthy class more than of those whose wealth was local in its 
character or size. By the 1890s a new national capitalist class 
overshadowed the local business and aristocratic elites.'^ Their 
wealth was derived from investments in national corporations, 
and their visions of what was good and necessary for society were 
broader than their local and lesser counterparts. Many of them 
gave without strategy in their benefactions, except the courting of 
good will, but some had strategies and interests of their own. 

Just as well-connected local physicians appealed to the local 
pride and charitable obligations of the local upper-middle class to 
build a modern hospital for their community, so did academic 
physicians and medical scientists turn to men and women of 
broader wealth with appeals to the needs of society. A few 
illustrious centers of medical education and research were rel- 
atively well off. Charles Eliot clearly saw that the way to attract 
large gifts and endowments was to reform Harvard's medical 
school. Johns Hopkins willed a hospital and medical school as 
well as a general university from his Baltimore and Ohio railroad 
fortune; yet more was needed and gotten from wealthy individu- 
als to open the medical school. These cases were the exceptions. 

102 I Scientific Medicine II 

"Not half a dozen institutions have received any considerable 
sums, and very few anything at all," the AMA Journal com- 
plained in 1900. The endowments necessary to "advancing med- 
ical education and medical science" must come from outside the 
profession.^ As some reform leaders foresaw and feared, there 
was danger in dependence on philanthropy for that capital. 


William H. Welch's personal plight and eventual success are 
indicative of the rising star of medical research. Returning in 1878 
from his pathology studies in Germany, Welch found little 
support in New York for devoting himself to laboratory research. 
Although he received mild encouragement from Francis Dela- 
field at the prestigious College of Physicians and Surgeons, he 
could not find any space in which to set up a laboratory. Finally, 
he turned to the lesser-rated Bellevue Hospital medical college 
and negotiated the use of three rooms, some kitchen tables, and 
twenty-five dollars in equipment. With frogs gathered from the 
marshes of his sister's upstate New York home, Welch began the 
first laboratory course in pathology given in an American medical 
school. He got by with fees from his six students, a partnership 
with another doctor preparing medical students for competitive 
examinations, and assisting Dr. Austin Flint, a rich and socially 
prominent professor of medical practice at Bellevue.^ 

Welch's European studies and original work brought him 
immediate recognition. Within a year the alumni of the College 
of Physicians and Surgeons contributed enough money to offer 
Welch a modest pathology laboratory at their alma mater, but 
Welch felt a commitment to Bellevue and also wanted to hold out 
for the security and completeness of the chair in pathology at the 
new Johns Hopkins medical school. Drawn by the "more 
academic" environment at Hopkins, relief from "the drudgery of 
teaching," an endowed $4,000 a year salary and paid assistants, 
Welch shocked the New York medical profession and friends by 
giving up a future income of "at least $20,000" for provincial 

Welch took the position at Hopkins in 1884. Before going to 
Baltimore, he spent most of a year studying bacteriology in 
Leipzig and in Berlin with Koch. He studied bacteriology largely 

Scientific Medicine II I 103 

because he feared he would be left behind in the growing 
competition for medical discoveries.^ Welch's singular devotion 
to his career brought him success. Despite the adulation and 
social popularity he received, he isolated himself from personal 
intimacy with any other person, male or female.^ 

Welch's reputation as a researcher and organizer of research 
grew even before the Johns Hopkins medical school opened its 
doors in 1893 with Welch as its first dean. By the turn of the 
century, Welch's professional reputation began spilling over into 
lay circles. In 1901 he came to the attention of Frederick T. 
Gates, the grand master of the Rockefeller philanthropies. Welch 
was asked to help organize the Rockefeller Institute for Medical 
Research. He soon became chief adviser to the Rockefeller 
foundations on medical projects, assisting in important ways in 
funding medical education in the United States and China, in 
developing public health programs in the United States and 
around the world, in organizing and heading this country's first 
school of public health, and more. In 1930 his eightieth birthday 
was honored around the world with a live radio broadcast 
throughout the United States and Europe presided over by 
President Hoover and simultaneous celebrations in major cities in 
Europe and Japan. 

William H. Welch was indeed a man whose life and career 
spanned the fortunes of medical science, from its struggling 
infancy to its prodigious material success. His life combined the 
perfect mix of ambition, talent, single-minded dedication, and 
opportunity to make him the ideal of academic medicine in the 
United States. His gregariousness and wit kept him from being 
the recluse that his rejection of intimate relationships might have 
otherwise encouraged. His considerable talent combined with his 
initially almost frantic ambition to give him a competitive edge in 

Nevertheless, these qualities would have yielded few rewards 
had the opportunities not come at the right moments. If Welch 
had not been born a white male into a prosperous class, he would 
never have had the material support he needed. If Welch had 
been born fifty years earlier, there would have been no support 
for scientific medicine. If he had been born fifty years later, he 
might well have been just another competent medical researcher. 
If Johns Hopkins medical school had not been filling its faculty 

104 I Scientific Medicine II 

slots when he was an ascending star in New York medical science, 
he might have been forced to divert energy into a lucrative 
private practice and lost his singular immersion in medical 
academia. If the Rockefeller philanthropies had not sought to 
develop scientific medical research, to reform medical education, 
and to develop public health programs, he might not have had a 
sufficient vehicle for his talents and might not have achieved his 
reputation as a world statesman and celebrity. While Welch was 
the right person in the right place at the right time, his spectacular 
career depended upon more than luck. His sex, race, and social 
class were crucial conditions for his success. But the development 
of corporate capitalism was perhaps the most important condition 
because it provided the ideological and cultural support for 
scientific medicine and the material support for his research. 

It is likely that Welch would have fared well even without the 
Rockefellers since his reputation would have enabled him to skim 
off the best positions in medical science. Medical research and 
education as a whole, however, were helped immensely by the 
wealth of the Rockefeller fortune. Under the skillful direction of 
foundation officers, the Rockefeller wealth became the largest 
single source of capital for the development of medical science in 
the United States, the conversion of medical education to a 
scientific research basis, and the development of public health 
programs in the United States and abroad. 

For the first quarter of the twentieth century the Rockefeller 
officers developed a definite strategy for their capital investment 
in medicine. That strategy sometimes supported and often 
opposed different interests in medicine, but such alliances and 
conflicts were never accidents on the part of the foundation. They 
were anticipated and necessary consequences of the role of 
modern medicine in the society, as desired and articulated from 
the very pinnacles of the American class structure. 

Why was so much Rockefeller money — $65 million by 1928 — 
lavished on a single institution devoted to scientific medical 
research? What motivated the men at the Rockefeller philanthro- 
py to spend so much of their energy and money on medicine? 
How important were their humanitarian feelings for their fellow 
human beings? Did they envision material benefits from their 
work? As capitalists and corporate managers, did they beheve it 
would further their personal interests or their class interests? The 

Scientific Medicine II I 105 

self-consciousness of their pioneering effort made accessible the 
concerns and thinking behind the facades constructed in foun- 
dation-funded histories and authorized biographies. 


On June 2, 1901, New York's newspapers hailed the founding 
of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. The most 
celebrated example of private philanthropy supporting medical 
research, the institute began a new epoch in the United States. 
More than its predecessors abroad, the Rockefeller Institute 
would attack a broad range of diseases, seeking understandings of 
their biological and chemical causes, developing methods of 
prevention and cure, and training hundreds of researchers for 
medical science. 

The institute began modestly with a commitment of $20,000 a 
year for research grants and soon after an outright gift of $1 
million from John Davison Rockefeller. By 1928 Rockefeller gifts 
to the institute totaled $65 million, an enormous sum for the 
period. Although the elder Rockefeller and his son are most 
widely known for the benefactions, it was Frederick T. Gates who 
formulated the strategies and initiated the investments in medical 
research, medical education, and public health. 

In 1915 Gates set down his memories of the origins of the 
institute. His anecdotal recollection stands as the widely quoted 
history of the origins of Rockefeller medical philanthropy. '° As 
folklore, it conveys the process and motivations the creator of the 
Rockefeller Institute wished us to believe about the germination 
of his interest. 

In his retrospective story, Gates describes how the idea for the 
institute came to him. As minister of the Central Baptist church 
in Minneapolis from 1880 to 1888, Gates had countless experienc- 
es with regular and homeopathic doctors. His visits to "hundreds 
of sick rooms" and his close relations with several physicians 
confirmed "a profound scepticism about medicine of both schools 
as it was currently practiced." As for homeopathic medicine, he 
concluded that Samuel Hahnemann, the founder, was "Httle less 
than a lunatic." He had little more confidence in the regular, or 
orthodox, school. 

106 I Scientific Medicine II 

Then in 1897, six years after joining Rockefeller's staff, he 
befriended a former member of his Minneapolis congregation 
who was a medical student in New York. He asked the young 
man to suggest a readable medical text used in the best medical 
schools. On his young friend's recommendation, Gates bought 
himself a copy of William Osier's Principles and Practice of 
Medicine, first published in 1892, and a pocket medical dictio- 

Gates took Osier's book with him to join his family vacation- 
ing in the Catskills and read through its approximately 1,000 
pages of revelations about the state of medicine. Osier laid bare 
the limitations of current medical knowledge and practice. Gates 
learned that many diseases were caused by germs, only a very few 
of which had been identified and isolated but many of which "we 
might reasonably hope to discover." 

When I laid down this book, I had begun to realize how woefully 
neglected in all civilized countries and perhaps most of all in this 
country, had been the scientific study of medicine. I saw very clearly 
also why this was true. In the first place, the instruments for 
investigation, the microscope, the science of chemistry, had not 
until recently been developed. Pasteur's germ theory of disease was 
ver> recent. Moreover, while other departments of science, astrono- 
my, chemistr>% physics, etc., had been endowed very generously in 
colleges and universities throughout the whole civilized world, 
medicine, owing to the peculiar commercial organization of medical 
colleges, had rarely if ever, been anwhere endowed, and research 
and instruction alike had been left to shift for itself dependent 
altogether on such chance as the active practitioner might steal from 
his practice. It became clear to me that medicine could hardly hope 
to become a science until medicine should be endowed and qualified 
men could give themselves to uninterrupted study and investigation, 
on ample salary, entirely independent of practice. To this end, it 
seemed to me an Institute of medical research ought to be 
established in the United States. 

In July, Gates returned to his office in the Standard Oil 
building with "my Osier" in hand and dictated a memorandum to 
Rockefeller. He laid out his conclusions about the tragic state of 
medicine in the United States and its immense potential. He 
pointed out the usefulness of the Koch Institute in Berlin and the 
Pasteur Institute in Paris. In support of his recommendation for 

Scientific Medicine II I 107 

an American institute, Gates explained to Rockefeller that 
Pasteur's discoveries about anthrax and diseases of fermentation 
"had saved for the French nation a sum in excess of the entire 
cost of the Franco-German War." He also insisted that an 
institute founded by Rockefeller would encourage other wealthy 
men and women to found and endow other research centers, with 
the total effort yielding "abundant rewards." 

While the memo to Rockefeller did not result in immediate 
action, it did provide the coherent rationale six months later for 
opposing the affihation of Rush medical college with the Univer- 
sity of Chicago, at the time Rockefeller's dearest and largest 
philanthropy. Rush was a respected school of the regular 
profession, a follower of the scientific vanguard but not among 
them. Gates got Rockefeller's support for a letter urging the 
university's administrators to abandon Rush and offering them 
instead a new medical center, "magnificently endowed, devoted 
primarily to investigation, making practice itself an incident of 
investigation. " For some reason, probably related to the influence 
in Chicago of Rush's wealthy and socially and politically promi- 
nent practitioner- faculty members, the marriage was consummat- 
ed anyway. Chicago lost its chance for the proposed institute. 
Thus was Gates' idea for the institute born and preserved from 
the clutches of medical sectarianism. 

Gates' proposal was carefully considered through 1899 and 
1900. Gates and Rockefeller, Jr., who joined the philanthropy 
staff in 1897, hired Starr J. Murphy, a lawyer friend and 
Montclair, N.J., neighbor of Gates, to study European institutes 
and confer with leading medical researchers in this country. L. 
Emmett Holt, pediatrician to several of Senior's grandchildren 
and a fellow parishioner at Junior's Fifth Avenue Baptist church 
in New York, impressed upon Junior the broad and basic 
biological research that led to the recent discovery of diphtheria 
antitoxin. What was needed to solve other great problems in 
medicine, he told the younger Rockefeller, "were men and 
resources which could be devoted solely to the work of re- 
search. "^^ 

Finally, in December 1900 John Rockefeller McCormick, the 
elder R.ockefeller's three-year-old grandson, fell ill with scarlet 
fever. On the second day of the New Year he died. Any hesitancy 
the old man, a follower of homeopathy, felt about endowing 

108 I Scientific Medicine II 

scientific medical research was undermined when he was told by 
respected New York doctors that they knew Uttle about the cause 
of scarlet fever and had no cure for it.^^ 

Gates and the Rockefellers were also concerned about com- 
petition for their proposed institute. Andrew Carnegie's rival 
research institute, endowed with $10 million as the Carnegie In- 
stitution of Washington in 1902, was then in the planning stages. 
Rockefeller, Jr., was sufficiently concerned about the competi- 
tion to wring an agreement from the steel king that his institu- 
tion would not enter the field of medical research. At the same 
time Henry Phipps was founding an institute for the study of 
tuberculosis in Philadelphia. Competition struck close to home 
when Rockefeller's daughter Edith and son-in-law Harold F. 
McCormick unveiled their plans for a tribute to their son, the 
John Rockefeller McCormick Memorial Institute for Infectious 
Diseases in Chicago. ^^ 

By March 1901 Rockefeller committed himself to funding 
Gates' proposed institute. The Rockefeller Institute for Medical 
Research began its work with $20,000 a year for grants to medical 
researchers and soon thereafter a $1 million gift from Rockefel- 
ler, a board of directors composed of physicians — including Holt 
and Welch — with training in pathology and a commitment to 
bacteriological research, and Dr. Simon Flexner as the executive 

For more than two years Gates grew increasingly impatient as 
the "medical gentlemen" restricted themselves to supporting 
small research projects around the country. ^"^ Finally, in the fall of 
1904, the board opened its first laboratories and began its own 
program of medical research. In November 1907 Rockefeller 
gave the institute an additional endowment but held back half the 
$6 million requested by the directors. Finally, in October 1910, 
after the institute was reorganized — reducing the board of di- 
rectors to a lesser role as the Board of Scientific Directors and 
creating a new board of trustees with Gates as chairman — 
Rockefeller added to the institute's endowment, providing it with 
the yearly income from $6.4 million of investments. By 1920 the 
Rockefellers had given the institute $23 million and by 1928 some 
$65 million.^' 

The institute was organized independently of any university 
primarily for reasons of efficiency and to avoid conflict with 

Scientific Medicine II I 109 

Senior's commitment to homeopathy. First, Gates and Rockefel- 
ler, Jr., wanted the institute free of any teaching pressures. The 
objective of the institute was to produce results in medicine in 
order to reduce the amount of disease in society, and it would be 
a diversion of resources to ask the researchers to teach. '^ 

Second, the handful of scientific medical schools, while nom- 
inally above medical sectarianism, were the turf of the regular 
profession's elite. The elder Rockefeller, a lifelong follower of 
homeopathy, objected to any move that strengthened the regular 
profession in its conflict with homeopathists. It was undoubt- 
edly on this basis that Rockefeller in 1898 supported Gates' ob- 
jection to the alliance between the University of Chicago and 
Rush Medical College, a creature of the regular profession and 
an opponent of homeopathy. Columbia and Harvard were 
briefly considered as recipients of the institute, but they were 
elite regular medical schools. Although neither Gates nor Junior 
took the old man's concerns seriously, they had to avoid pro- 
voking his objections that they were merely supporting one side, 
the wrong side in the conflict. With the example of the inde- 
pendent Pasteur Institute before them, the efficiency of a purely 
research institute as their primary concern, and their desire 
to assuage Senior's hostihty to regular schools. Gates and Rocke- 
feller, Jr., agreed to exclude any university affiUation for their 
project. ^^ 


The conflict over homeopathy continued for some years. It 
is an illuminating example of the workings of the Rockefeller 
philanthropies, and it suggests an ideological difference between 
the robber barons like Senior who built up huge industrial 
empires and the next generation of corporate capitalists who ran 
the operations. 

Rockefeller continued to express his concerns that within the 
institute and later in his philanthropies' support for medical 
education, his money was being used to support the regular 
profession at the expense of the homeopaths. "I am a homeopath- 
ist," he scolded his staff in 1916. "I desire that homeopathists 
should have fair, courteous, and liberal treatment extended to 
them from all medical institutions to which we contribute."^* In 

no I Scientific Medicine II 

1919, when he was considering a $45 milHon gift to his General 
Education Board to support medical education, Rockefeller 
again warned his son and staff: "Homeopathic teaching should 
not be excluded ... it should be provided for, the same as 
Allopathic. "•^* 

His son and his staff firmly and repeatedly explained that 
"scientific medicine has rendered obsolete the former distinctions 
between the so-called Homeopathic and the so-called regular or 
Allopathic schools. "^'^ The new medicine is free of dogma, free of 
values. It represents not "preconceived notions" about the world 
but only "ascertained facts. "^^ Medical science is devoid of "med- 
ical dogma of any kind."^^ 

Furthermore, as the homeopaths and regular schools "are 
constantly drawing nearer together," a trusted adviser wrote the 
old man, "the discriminations which formerly were practised 
against homeopathists are being constantly lessened." Simon 
Flexner provided assurances that at the Rockefeller Institute 
"they make no distinction and welcome to their staff qualified 
men irrespective of the school in which they have been trained. "^^ 

That John D. Rockefeller personally patronized a homeopath- 
ist might seem surprising. However, Rockefeller and homeopathy 
were both products of the nineteenth century. From the mid- 
nineteenth century on, homeopathy in the United States ap- 
pealed primarily to the upper classes. It was safer than the heroics 
of regular medicine, and it was a sign of affluence and taste since 
it was very fashionable among the European nobility and upper 
class, who were aped in many ways by wealthy Americans. ^"^ 
Rockefeller, who was twenty-two at the outbreak of the Civil 
War, grew up believing that homeopathy was medically and 
socially desirable. 

Furthermore, while Rockefeller used chemists and engineers 
in developing his Standard Oil empire, his chief assets were 
an unbridled ambition and an intuitive and cunning sense of 
opportunity and organization. He accumulated the largest for- 
tune among all the robber barons by paying his workers as little as 
possible and by ruthless methods in the marketplace, extracting 
huge rebates from the railroads for his shipments and cutting the 

*"Allopathic" was another term for the regular, or orthodox, sect of the medical 

Scientific Medicine II I 111 

price of refined oil products to drive his competitors out of 
business. He did not fully share his son's and his later managers' 
appreciation of the importance of science in developing the base 
of industrial capitalism. 

In his retirement and devotion to giving away his fortune, 
Rockefeller generally gave free reign to Gates and his son. He 
knew that his caution in disposing of his fortune was shared by his 
trusted lieutenants. Within his philanthropies he had the money 
but did not take the authority to establish policy. It seemed 
sufficient to him that his name was no longer the object of spittle, 
but rather gratitude. Except for occasional questions, taciturn 
consideration of his advisers' requests for millions of dollars, and 
objections to the treatment of homeopathists, Rockefeller, Sr., 
left the running of his philanthropies and his financial empire 
alike to Gates and his son. 

Although Gates and Junior worked together in developing 
programs and prying gifts from the occasionally reluctant father. 
Junior himself acknowledged that "Gates was the brilliant 
dreamer and creator," and "I was the salesman, the go-between 
with father at the opportune moment. "^^ Fortunately for history. 
Gates was a prolific writer of his ideas, leaving his thoughts in 
letters to Rockefeller, Sr., speeches to the various philanthropic 
boards, and memos to himself and his staff. Given his central role 
in the Rockefeller philanthropies and the importance of these 
philanthropies in the development of scientific medicine, it is 
illuminating to consider Gates' views of the role and consequenc- 
es of medical science. 


Gates, the premier Rockefeller medicine man, was attracted 
to medical science. It was not the appeals from medical science 
that drew his interest or his money. He was, like most educated 
people of the late nineteenth century, vaguely aware of the march 
of progress in medicine. He knew of Pasteur and the germ theory 
of disease. He had read Osier and understood the potential of 
medical science. But he never heard of Dr. Simon Flexner or Dr. 
William H. Welch, and he had no contact with other medical 
scientists until he initiated the medical institute. Nevertheless, he 
did "intelligently and clearly see that there was a tremendous 

112 I Scientific Medicine 11 

need of medical research." Whatever requests for money for 
medical science crossed Gates' desk, none was taken seriously 
until 1907, when McGill University asked for aid to replace two 
medical school buildings that had been destroyed by fire.^^ 

Gates was always an autonomous figure in medical philan- 
thropy. He was moved by his own conceptions of the value of 
medicine and his own strategies for developing its role in 
American society. He was certainly influenced by medical men 
whom he respected, above all Simon Flexner and William Welch, 
but it was because their ideas and contributions conformed to his 
plans for the transformation of medicine. What visions did he 
have of the role and functions of scientific medicine? 

We may grant that Gates had genuinely humanitarian motiva- 
tions. His ministrations to the sick and dying in his Minneapolis 
parish undoubtedly evoked sympathy for their suffering. In his 
later years he credited medical science with standing above all 
other elements of history. None but medicine has "done so much 
to promote all the forces of civilization, to increase human 
happiness or to ameliorate human suffering."^'' 

Typical of Gates, his enumeration of the accomplishments of 
medical science places the relief of human misery after the 
promotion of the "forces of civilization." This is not a petty 
criticism, for Gates' preeminent consideration was the develop- 
ment and extension of Anglo-American civilization. What he 
understood that civilization to represent will become clear in the 
following pages, but in its essence "civilization" meant the values 
of work and disciplined living, a social life organized around 
productive labor and frugal consumption. "Civilization" also 
meant the right and indeed the responsibility of men of wealth to 
govern society and of industrial societies to direct economically 
less developed societies. In brief, "civilization" was equated in 
Gates' mind with industrial capitalism and imperialism. 

What value did scientific medicine have for capitalism? Gates 
envisioned numerous material and social-political consequences 
flowing from medical science in a never-ending stream of support 
for capitalist society. 


The material benefit of medicine is a healthier population and 
thus a healthier work force. What Pasteur's work on anthrax had 

Scientific Medicine II I 113 

done for the French cattle industry, medical science could do for 
the whole society. The findings of medical science were most 
important when applied to preventing disease. "By keeping 
well," Gates observed, a person "enjoys all the employments, 
pleasures, and financial gains of continuous health." Gates 
insisted from the beginning of his career to its end that "the 
fundamental aim of medical science ought to be not primarily the 
cure but primarily the prevention of disease."^* 

Gates believed that events supported his contention. In the 
first quarter of the twentieth century, "sanitary science and 
preventive medicine" had reduced sickness by half, he asserted, 
citing support from U.S. Census Bureau reports of mortahty 
rates, insurance company statistics, and reports of state and local 
health boards. ^^ Although sickness was still a major obstacle to 
the full utilization of labor, the assault by the forces of science 
was paying off. Gates cited a report that 20 percent of the 
employees of large companies were home sick each day, but, he 
added, triumphantly, "I think that even so high a figure is far 
below that of the armies of [General] Washington. "^° 

Gates was far from a solitary figure preaching the potential of 
medicine for capitalists. Big business. Gates observed in 1925, 
sponsored preventive medical care programs on a large scale 
"because health is found in a variety of ways to be profitable."^' 
Healthy workers are profitable because they are an employer's 
"human capital" to be utilized for production of salable goods 
and services. Just as the capital invested in machines needs to be 
protected by adequate maintenance programs, so too does 
human capital require maintenance and repair, a perspective long 
recognized in many contexts. 

Southern slave owners and their physicians viewed their black 
slaves as a capital investment to be saved from disability or death 
whenever possible, lending credibility to the myth of paternalistic 
slavery. In a study of the role of medicine in the ante-bellum 
South, Walter Fisher concluded that the primary reason why 
slaves were provided with medical care was the tremendous 
economic investment they represented to slave owners. ^^ Every 
planter understood that "to save his capital was to save his 
negroes," observed Dr. Richard Arnold, an upper-class physician 
in Savannah. The self-interest of the slave-owning class in the 
preservation of its investment made Southern slavery "the only 

114 I Scientific Medicine II 

institution in which Interests and Humanity go hand in hand 
together," Dr. Arnold wryly added." 

It was not only racism and slavery that facilitated "paternalis- 
tic" self-interest. The U.S. Sanitary Commission, organized in 
1861 to provide medical relief to Union soldiers on Southern 
battlefields, was by its own account no humanitarian enterprise. 
Run by wealthy Easterners, the commission declared "its ulti- 
mate end is neither humanity nor charity. It is to economize for 
the National service the life and strength of the National soldier." 
Saving a soldier's life, the commission calculated, reduced the 
monetary cost of the war and preserved the soldier as a "pro- 
ducer" when he "returned to the industrial pursuits of civil life." 
Each soldier's life was worth "no less than one thousand dollars" 
to society. ^"^ 

With the rapid development of an industrial base in the 
United States during and after the Civil War, employers in many 
industries viewed their workers as disposable resources. Particu- 
larly with increasing mechanization in industrial production, a 
decreased demand for skilled workers, and an unlimited supply of 
desperate immigrants, the work force became a sea of men and 
women to be plucked up by employers as needed and later tossed 
out. Workers who were maimed, killed, or simply worn out by 
their jobs were replaced by other bodies from among the 

As the unemployed work force shrank with the outbreak of 
war or upswings in the economy, as labor organized to change its 
working conditions and pay, and as employers found that lost 
production because of illness and rapid turnover of their workers 
cost them profits, enhghtened businessmen developed new atti- 
tudes toward their workers. It was not concern for the workers' 
needs that led to better conditions and health and welfare pro- 
grams. Rather these reforms sprang from the industrial unionism 
and political organization of workers and from the opposing 
necessity of employers to discipline the work force to the re- 
quirements of capitalist production. The firm that improved its 
working conditions reduced work days lost to strikes. The firm 
that took pains to keep its workers found increased productivity 
from its capital investment. The firm that offered company 
housing, shares of stock, and company medical care increased the 
dependence of the workers on the company and lessened the 

Scientific Medicine II I 115 

threat of unionization. And, in the early years of this century up 
to World War I, industries that voluntarily acted could reduce the 
risk of restrictive legislation demanded by the forces of Progres- 
sivism. As early as 1892, following the bloody Homestead strike, 
Andrew Carnegie articulated a more conciliatory policy toward 
his workers to prevent the loss of experienced workers, though 
there is little evidence that he or his company followed the policy. 
"It is impossible," he said, "to get new men to run successfully 
the complicated machinery of a modern steel plant."" Labor 
stability became an important element in the productivity and 
profit strategies of modern industries. "It is good business to 
conserve life and health," observed John Topping of Republic 
Steel, for thereby "one of the most important items of economy 
in production is secured. "^^ 

Industrialists who weathered the marketplace and emerged 
among the monopolistic leaders of their industry had the capital 
and foresight to ward off unionization and stabilize their work 
forces with health and welfare programs. Steel companies, 
railroads, oil companies, and others created complete medical 
care systems for their workers, hiring or contracting with 
physicians and providing dispensaries or hospitals. 

The efforts of slave owners and the U.S. Sanitary Commission 
to preserve lives by curing disease were aimed at conserving 
human capital, the one "belonging" to an individual and the 
other profiting a whole class. The medical programs of individual 
corporations were aimed more at undermining unionization and 
stabiHzing their own work forces, with improved health an added 
benefit rather than the main purpose. Thus, slave owners and 
industrial corporations exhibited enlightened self-interest while 
the upper-class sanitary commissioners demonstrated a more 
far-sighted plan for investing in the whole society's work force. 
The latter is an articulated interest of an entire class — the interest 
of the capitaUst class in a stable and healthy work force. 

Frederick T. Gates consistently articulated this larger per- 
spective and shaped his philanthropic programs around it. He 
understood the importance of a healthy work force to the growth 
of capital and industrial output. The Rockefeller Sanitary Com- 
mission, organized by Gates in 1909, sought to eradicate hook- 
worm disease from the southern U.S. population. Charles 
Warden Stiles, a government zoologist, convinced Gates and 

116 I Scientific Medicine II 

Junior that the hookworm was "one of the most important 
diseases of the South" and a cause of "some of the proverbial 
laziness of the poorer classes of the white population." Whatever 
genuine pride the Rockefellers and Gates felt in relieving the 
suffering of thousands of Southerners, their primary incentive 
was clearly the increased productivity of workers freed of the 
endemic parasite. Gates observed that the stocks of cotton mills 
located in the heavily infected tidewater counties of North 
Carolina were worth less than mills in other counties of the state 
where fewer people were infected. "This is due," he explained to 
Rockefeller, Sr., "to the inefficiency of labor in these cotton 
mills, and the inefficiency in the labor is due to the infection by 
the hookworm which weakens the operatives." Gates calculated, 
"It takes, by actual count, about 25 percent more laborers to 
secure the same results in the counties where the infection is 
heavier." It also took 25 percent more houses for the workers, 
more machinery, and thus more capital and higher operating 
costs. "This is why the stocks of such mills are lower and the 
profits lighter."^' 

The Rockefellers did not have any significant investment in 
Southern textile mills. Rather their extensive and widespread 
investments gave them a concern for the productivity of the entire 
economy. The Sanitary Commission was a logical extension of 
their educational programs in the South (discussed in Chapter 1), 
all directed ultimately to integrating the Southern economy into 
the national dominion of Northern capitalists. 

Through the International Health Commission — the first 
program of the Rockefeller Foundation established in 1913 — the 
hookworm and other public health programs were extended 
worldwide. None of these programs was intended to prop up 
specific Rockefeller investments abroad. They were directed 
more generally at improving the health of each country's work 
force to facilitate sufficient economic development to provide the 
United States with needed raw materials and an adequate market 
for this country's manufactured goods. Stacy May, an economist 
and a director of a Rockefeller-controlled international invest- 
ment corporation, recently reaffirmed the value of such pro- 
grams. "Where mass diseases are brought under control, produc- 
tivity tends to increase — through increasing the percentage of 
adult workers as a proportion of the total population, [and] 

Scientific Medicine II I 117 

through augmenting their strength and ambition to work," he 

Each of these programs can be traced to Gates' and the 
Rockefellers' broader concern for the permanent economic and 
social viability of capitalist society. Gates viewed the public 
health in a larger capitalist class perspective than probably any 
other important figure in the various medical reform movements 
of the period. Although his articulated views on the relation 
between health and capitalism were more complete than other 
capitalists of his era, he was not alone in maintaining the 
importance of such programs. 

The American Association for Labor Legislation, a Progres- 
sive era alliance of corporate-liberal business leaders, some labor 
leaders, and upper middle-class reformers, won business support 
for its proposal for compulsory national health insurance mainly 
on the basis of the self-interest of employers. "Illness as well as 
injury occasion a large economic waste to the company as well as 
to the employees on account of lost time, idle machinery, and 
ineffective work," reported Howell Cheney of the Cheney 
Brothers' Silk Mills. "It is to the direct interest of the company as 
well as to the individual to bring about a reestablishment of 
health, and consequently efficiency, by supplying the best con- 
ditions possible for recovery. "^^ 

The National Association of Manufacturers committee on 
industrial betterment supported compulsory sickness insurance 
against voluntary systems largely because of the importance they 
attached to a healthy work force. "We know that there are 
employers who would not comply with the voluntary plan," the 
NAM committee warned. Even a corporation president who sees 
the long-run advantages of "enhghtened" industrial relations may 
bow blindly to maximizing this year's profits. This was an 
important enough issue, they argued, that the State must 
"subordinate the independence of the individual to the general 

It was not primarily a concern for conserving human life that 
led America's corporate liberals in the Progressive era to support 
compulsory health insurance. From Bismarck to the Conservative 
party in England to the American Association for Labor Legisla- 
tion and the National Civic Federation, the far-sighted leaders of 
corporate capitalism believed that government-sponsored sick- 

118 I Scientific Medicine II 

ness insurance, workers' compensation, and other social security 
measures would reduce the appeal of radical labor and socialist 
movements/^ Hoping to depoliticize workers' unhappiness with 
their lot, corporate leaders joined reformers in calling for such 
moderate reforms. Despite this expedient application of medical 
care programs, leaders of many corporations as well as the 
conservative National Association of Manufacturers believed that 
medical care, when extended to the whole population, would 
substantially improve the health of workers and their families, 
which included future workers. 

Sharing the concern of the business class, the vanguard of 
scientific medicine considered the economic benefits of medicine 
among its most important effects. The smaller view pervaded the 
thinking of physicians working in a particular company's health 
programs. C. W. Hopkins, chief surgeon for the Chicago and 
Northwestern Railway, told the 1915 annual meeting of the 
American Academy of Medicine that the railroads found it 
economically desirable to organize medical care programs be- 
cause it cost them $500 to train an employee and because 
experienced and healthy workers were important in reducing 
accidents that injure passengers and destroy property. "It is now 
a well-recognized fact among the managements of the railroads," 
reported Dr. Hopkins, "that it is just as important to care for 
their sick and injured [workers] as it is to maintain a certain 
standard of efficiency or perfection of their rolling stock and road 

Broader views of medicine's material importance to society 
guided strategies of men who led the medical reform movement 
at elite universities and the national level. Charles W. Eliot, the 
Harvard president who launched major medical reforms begin- 
ning in 1869, considered medical research both pure and appHed. 
At the dedication ceremonies for the Rockefeller Institute's 
laboratories in 1906, Eliot characterized research medicine's 
primary object as striving for "truth in the abstract" and its 
secondary objects as preventing "industrial losses due to sickness 
and untimely death among men and domestic animals," and 
lessening the negative impact of sickness on human happiness. "^^ 

William H. Welch, at the same ceremony, asserted with pride 
that scientific medicine made possible the "great industrial 

Scientific Medicine II I 1 19 

activities of modern times, efforts to colonize and to reclaim for 
civilization vast tropical regions, [and] the immense undertaking 
to construct the Panama Canal/"''' For the most part, academic 
doctors were content to support the uses of medical science laid 
down by the philanthropic strategists whose funding programs 
guided the development and utilization of research. The medical 
profession thus accepted the capitalist definition of health as the 
capacity to work. 



For philanthropist and capitalist Gates, the material conse- 
quences of medical science were only one of its advantages. 
Indeed, Gates gave more attention to the other advantages that 
intrigued him. Probably more than any of his contemporaries, 
Gates perceived and understood the ideological functions of 
medicine. Some of his thoughts were implicit understandings of 
the relation between scientific medicine and industrial capitalist 
ideology. His most systematic thinking concerned the social value 
of medical science as ideology and as a cultural force. 

Members of any society or social class whose existence is 
intimately tied to industrialism will find scientific medicine's 
explanations of health and disease more appealing than mystical 
belief systems. The precise analysis of the human body into its 
component parts is analogous to the industrial organization of 
production. From the perspective of an industrialist, scientific 
medicine seems to offer the limitless potential for effectiveness 
that science and technology provide in manufacturing and social 
organization. Just as industry depends upon science for technical- 
ly powerful industrial tools, science-based medicine and its 
mechanistic concepts of the body and disease should yield 
powerful tools with which to identify, eliminate, and prevent 
agents of disease and to correct malfunctions of the body. 

Gates and other industrial capitalists found a close correspon- 
dence between this new medicine's concepts of the body and 
disease and their own world view. The body, Gates believed, is a 
microcosm of society, and disease is an invasion of external 

120 I Scientific Medicine II 

elements. Medical research must discover the agents of disease 
and find the means of preventing their destruction of the body or 
provide a cure. Health, in Gates' view, is the absence of disease. 
"Nearly all disease," Gates explained to Rockefeller, "^^ 

is caused by living germs, animal and vegetable, which finding 
lodgement in the human body, under favorable conditions multiply 
with enormous rapidity until they interfere with the functions of the 
organs which they attack and either they or their products poison 
the fountains of life. 

Nature's healing methods are strikingly similar to the organi- 
zation of industrial society. 

When, for illustration, the skin is cut with a knife, nature at once 
begins to hurry to the point of disaster squadrons of white corpuscles 
of the blood and other healing forces. Just as the fire engines start 
from all quarters on the dead run to a fire when the alarm is 
sounded, healing forces rush from every part of the body to the 
point of trouble, some to destroy any poisonous germs that may get 
into the wound, others to unite the wounded parts as before. 

The body in which nature works is constructed like a 
Lilliputian community, complete with modern social organization 
and industrial plants. 

The body has a network of insulated nerves, like telephone wires, 
which transmit instantaneous alarms at every point of danger. The 
body is furnished with a most elaborate police system, with 
hundreds of police stations to which the criminal elements are 
carried by the police and jailed. . . . The body has a most complete 
and elaborate sewer system. 

The body's industrial life exists in 

an infinite number of microscopic cells. Each one of these cells is a 
small chemical laboratory, into which its own appropriate raw 
material is constantly being introduced, the processes of chemical 
separation and combination are constantly taking place automatical- 
ly, and its own appropriate finished product is constantly being 
thrown off, that finished product being necessary for the life and 
health of the body. Not only is this so, but the great organs of the 
body like the liver, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, gall bladder, are 
great local manufacturing centers, formed of groups of cells in 
infinite number, manufacturing the same sorts of products, just as 
industries of the same kind are often grouped in specific districts. 

Scientific Medicine II I 121 

"We are fearfully and wonderfully made," Gates ironically 
concludes, as though praising some new machine created in 
God's own image. Because "nature is the great physician," her 
healing powers have obscured the failing of all pre- and nonscien- 
tific forms of medicine. Recovery from disease before the advent 
of scientific medicine, Gates believed, was due entirely to the 
power of nature as healer. Homeopathic and orthodox medical 
sects, Christian Science, psychic healers, osteopaths, Indian herb 
doctors, and patent medicine men all survived by claiming 
nature's cures as their own. 

Only science was able to comprehend nature. "Science has 
discovered the laboratories where she has stored her reserves and 
has robbed her of them for use on human beings." Medical 
researchers in Gates' day were pressing the campaign against 
disease on two fronts: "they are trying to break into and expose 
to the Hght many more of the secret processes in nature's 
laboratories," and "they are working to create new chemical 
combinations that will cure." 

Gates thus appreciated the human body as one of nature's 
puzzles, to be investigated and understood by science. His view, 
shared by scientific doctors, engineers, professionals of all sorts, 
and most corporate executives and owners, envisioned health as 
the absence of disease and medicine as an engineering task. 
Science was helping industry reshape the organization of produc- 
tion by developing machinery to control and cheapen human 
labor and more cheaply extract from nature a salable product. 
Science would also extract from nature the secrets of life itself 
while medicine would apply them to understand disease and 
develop methods of preventing or curing these pestilences of life 
and commerce. Improving the health of the population was thus 
an engineering job that involved understanding and manipulating 

Gates' views were not very different from those generally held 
by medical scientists of his day. While few directly applied the 
analogy of industrial society, nearly all conceived the body in 
mechanistic terms that made such an analogy seem natural. The 
similarity between the constructs of scientific medicine and the 
world view of industrial capitalism made it seem natural for the 
new order to support scientific doctors against all "quacks." The 
medical profession benefited from the compatibility of its theo- 

122 I Scientific Medicine II 

ries with the perspectives of the newly dominant class, but the 
capitalist social order won extraordinary ideological and cultural 


Scientific medicine's singular concern with the microbiological 
interaction of the human body and specific disease states had 
political consequences which Gates and a few others envisioned. 
In brief, Gates embraced scientific medicine as a force that 
would: (1) help unify and integrate the emerging industrial 
society with technical values and culture, and (2) legitimize 
capitalism by diverting attention from structural and other 
environmental causes of disease. 

Gates and other officers in the Rockefeller foundations 
believed that medicine had an important cultural role to play. 
Gates believed that the goal of medicine, the "healing ministra- 
tion," is "the most intimate, the most precious, the superlative 
interest of every man that lives." After food, water, sleep, and 
sex, freedom from disease is the great longing of all peoples. The 
desire for health is a unifying force "whose values go to the palace 
of the rich and the hovel of the poor." Medicine is "a work which 
penetrates everywhere." Thus, "the values of medical research 
are the most universal values on earth, and they are the most 
intimate and important values to every human being that lives. "''^ 

With medicine's unique acceptance by all people, the Rocke- 
feller Foundation discovered what the missionaries also knew: 
Medicine can be used to convert and colonize the heathen. In 
1909 the Rockefeller philanthropies added pubHc health pro- 
grams to their earlier efforts to develop public schools and 
promote agricultural demonstration projects in the South in part 
because medical care is so seductive to even the most reluctant 

In China, Gates switched from supporting religious missionar- 
ies to building a Western medical system. This episode is 
fascinating both because of the greater value that Gates, a man of 
the cloth, placed on scientific medicine in promoting Western 
influence and because of the unabashed imperialist motivations 
he himself attributed to Rockefeller philanthropies abroad. In 
1905 Gates urged Rockefeller, a frequent contributor to Baptist 

Scientific Medicine II I 123 

missionaries, to donate $100,000 to an organization of Congrega- 
tional missions/'' "Now for the first time in the history of the 
world," Gates explained to Rockefeller, 

all the nations and all the islands of the sea are actually open and 
offer a free field for the light and philanthropy of the English 
speaking people. . . . Christian agencies as a whole have very 
thoroughly invaded all coasts, all strategic points, all ports of entry 
and are thoroughly entrenched where they are. 

For Gates, transforming heathens into God-fearing Christians 
was "no sort of measure" of the value of missionaries: 

Quite apart from the question of persons converted, the mere 
commercial results of missionary effort to our own land is worth, I 
had almost said a thousandfold every year of what is spent on 
missions. . . . Missionary enterprise, viewed solely from a commer- 
cial standpoint, is immensely profitable. From the point of view of 
means of subsistence for Americans, our import trade, traceable 
mainly to the channels of intercourse opened up by missionaries, is 
enormous. Imports from heathen lands furnish us cheaply with 
many of the luxuries of life and not a few of the comforts, and with 
many things, indeed, which we now regard as necessities. 

Industrial capitalism, however, required not only raw materi- 
als and cheap products. It also needed new markets for its 
abundant manufactured goods. As Gates added to Rockefeller's 
receptive ear: 

our imports are balanced by our exports to these same countries of 
American manufactures. Our export trade is growing by leaps and 
bounds. Such growth would have been utterly impossible but for the 
commercial conquest of foreign lands under the lead of missionary 
endeavor. What a boon to home industry and manufacture! 

The missionary effort in China was effective for a time in 
undermining Chinese self-determination. Missionaries were the 
velvet glove of imperialism, frequently backed up by the mailed 
fist. Nevertheless, the missionary effort, promoted through 
schools and medical programs, was still a very transparent 
attempt to support European and American interests. As J. A. 
Hobson, an English economist, noted at the time, "ImperiaHsm 
in the Far East is stripped nearly bare of all motives and methods 
save those of distinctively commercial origin. 


124 I Scientific Medicine II 

In China, as throughout the world, the Rockefeller philan- 
thropists soon concluded that medicine and public health by 
themselves were far more effective than either missionaries or 
armies in pursuing the same ends. The Rockefeller Foundation 
removed the Peking Union Medical College from missionary 
society control, established it under foundation direction, and 
developed it into a completely secular, world renowned medical 
center, spending a total of $45 million for the China medical 

In the Philippines, the foundation's International Health 
Commission outfitted a hospital ship to bring medical care and 
the "benefits of civilization" to the rebellious Moro tribes. The 
foundation officers were ecstatic that such medical work made it 
"possible for the doctor and nurse to go in safety to many places 
which it has been extremely dangerous for the soldier to ap- 
proach." Their medical work paved "the way for establishing 
industrial and regular schools" and served as "an entering wedge 
for permanent civilizing influences. ""^^ Thus, in subduing primi- 
tive peoples and bringing them into desired colonial relations, 
medical care has, in the words of foundation president George 
Vincent, "some advantages over machine guns."^° 

Given the openly imperiahst ambitions of the United States 
early in this century, the Rockefeller philanthropy officers could 
pubHcly acknowledge their use of medicine to integrate dissenting 
people into industrial and capitalist society. Their domestic 
medical programs had exactly the same ends, though Gates and 
others were far more circumspect in discussing them. 

Medicine was increasingly replacing religion as the intimate 
arm of the social order. In education the teaching of values was 
obvious, and attempts to reform the schools provoked angry 
responses from a class-conscious society.^' In 1914 the National 
Education Association's attacks on the Carnegie and Rockefeller 
foundations were joined by many newspapers that condemned 
the foundations for trying to turn "our schools into mills for the 
manufacture of men and women made according to Rockefeller 
and Carnegie specifications."" Medicine was more insidious. 

For Gates to see medicine as a desirable replacement for 
religion was indeed an interesting turn of events. Gates, it will be 
recalled, was successively a Baptist minister, executive secretary 
of the American Baptist Education Society, and Rockefeller's 

Scientific Medicine II I 125 

chief lieutenant in charge of the industriaHst's philanthropy and a 
large part of his financial empire. Like other members of the 
managerial stratum, Gates identified his own interests and des- 
tiny with those of his employer. 

Shortly after his move from the ministry to directing the 
largest philanthropic and financial empire in the world, Gates' 
views on religion began to change. He began to read the Bible 
more critically and was soon convinced that "Christ had neither 
founded nor intended to found the Baptist church, nor any 
church; that neither he nor his disciples during his lifetime had 
baptized; that the communion was not conceived by Christ as a 
church ordinance, and that the whole Baptist fabric was built 
upon texts which had no authority, and on ecclesiastical concep- 
tions wholly foreign to the mind of Christ. "^^ Gates found himself 
converted from Baptism to capitalism and scientism! 

Medicine was a fundamental part of his new "religion." While 
theology was being "reconstructed in the light of science," sci- 
entific medicine was promulgating "new moral laws and new 
social laws, new definitions of what is right and wrong in our 
relations with each other." For Gates, the Rockefeller Institute 
for Medical Research was a "theological seminary, presided over 
by the Rev. Simon Flexner, D.D."'^ 

Gates did not fully explain the meaning of his metaphor, but it 
seems clear that he viewed medicine as industrial society's 
counterpart to rehgion, carrying moral precepts, "new duties," 
and the values of science to all people through its universal appeal 
and irresistible intimacy. This function was understood by leading 
members of the medical profession as well. Dr. John B. Roberts, 
in his presidential address to the American Academy of Medicine 
in 1904, laid out "The Doctor's Duty to the State." The physician 
"should teach the laity that mental hygiene, or discipHne, is as 
essential to proper living and happiness as physical hygiene," 
Roberts said. "Hygiene of the body gives a spirit of religious 
toleration and calm" whilt "hygiene of the mind gives a healthy 
digestion and a good income-making body and fits man for this 
world as well as the next."^^ Scientific medicine was thus an ideal 
instrument to help unify and integrate the new industrial society 
and indeed a world order in the values and culture of science, 
technology, and capitalism. 

Western scientific medicine was an uncommonly good vehicle 

126 I Scientific Medicine II 

for United States efforts to dominate Latin America, Asia, and 
Africa. But it was equally useful in bringing rural and technologi- 
cally and industrially naive North Americans to accept the 
domination of their lives by science and technology. Science had 
provided a basis for rationalizing industry, for organizing produc- 
tion consistent with the imperatives of profit and the growth of 
capital, and simultaneously for undermining the arguments of 
workers that the new technology eliminated their control over the 
productive process. The application of science to industry in 
fact depoliticized the whole productive process and created the 
appearance that progress is technology's own imperative. Be- 
neath that rule by technology lay the more fundamental impera- 
tive — capitalism's need for economic growth. The march of 
scientific and technological progress appears as an independent 
variable on which essential economic growth depends. Science 
and technology are developed mainly in ways useful to capitalist 
society, and as Jiirgen Habermas has shown, "the development of 
the social system seems to be determined by the logic of scien- 
tific-technical progress. "^^ 

The same mystification that the technological "imperative" 
pulls over the productive process is extended to all social spheres. 
Mechanical engineers, led by Frederick Taylor, developed more 
"efficient" ways of utilizing human labor in the factory, mainly by 
separating mental from manual labor, reorganizing the labor 
process under management's control, and substituting unskilled 
for skilled labor wherever possible. Although it did not particu- 
larly increase profits, Taylor's "scientific management" proved a 
very effective form of social control.^'' It provided a moral 
rationale for demanding obedience to capitalist values of hard 
work and disciplined living. "Too great liberty," Taylor wrote to 
Harvard president Charles EHot, "results in a large number of 
people going wrong who would be right if they had been forced 
into good habits. "^^ Housewives and mothers were similarly 
exhorted to be more efficient, for the home was "part of the great 
factory for production of citizens. "^^ Industrial and social 
leaders of the Progressive era, whether themselves Progressives 
or not, hoped to rationalize all social relations. The cult of 
efficiency firmly established in American culture and intellectual 
life the notion that technology must be served. Added to the 

Scientific Medicine II I 127 

already widespread view that science and technology are value- 
free, the technological imperative became a powerful moral 
force . 

Corporation heads, presidents of elite universities, and phi- 
lanthropists all joined in support of the new religion of science. 
"Respect for the man who knows and loyalty to demonstrated 
truth,'' preached Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia 
University, ''are characteristics of a civilization that is founded on 

Research institutes were the temples of the new religion. The 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research will be important in 
three ways, Butler told the dignitaries assembled for the opening 
of the institute's laboratories. It will add to mankind's knowledge 
of medicine, it will help train needed scientists, and it "will help 
spread abroad in the public mind a respect for science and for 
scientific method." Each of these contributions is a public ser- 
vice, he added, "but the last named is perhaps the greatest."^' 

Scientific medicine, as part of the fervent campaign for 
science, helped spread industrial culture, albeit a capitalist in- 
dustrial culture, throughout the land and indeed the world. But 
scientific medicine also developed into an ideological perspective 
that legitimizes the great inequalities of capitalist societies and the 
misery that results from the private appropriation of human and 
environmental resources. 

At one time, many physicians were in the vanguard of 
progressive social reform movements. By the mid-1800s social 
medicine was a highly developed field. Villerme, Buchez and 
Guerin in France, Neumann, Virchow, and Leubuscher in 
Germany, and dozens of lesser-known doctors studied the 
economic, social and occupational causes of disease and worked 
for reforms to eliminate them. Rudolf Virchow, one of the 
fathers of modern cell physiology, argued that medicine "must 
intervene in political and social life. It must point out the 
hindrances that impede the normal functioning of vital processes, 
and effect their removal."" Many physicians and sanitarians 
identified and statistically documented inhuman and dangerous 
working conditions, unemployment, miserable living conditions, 
malnutrition, and general poverty as the major causes of the high 
disease rates and early deaths among Europe's working classes. 

128 I Scientific Medicine II 

The failure of the revolutionary movement of 1848, in which 
many of these physicians participated, did not halt their efforts to 
change the conditions they opposed. 

From the time of Pasteur and Koch, however, a more 
conservative outlook dominated medical research. The clinical, 
or medical, model focused attention on the individual, while 
bacteriological research identified discrete, external, and specific 
agents of disease. This perspective encouraged the idea of specific 
therapies to cure specific pathological conditions, and it diverted 
attention from the social and economic causes of disease. When 
Koch presented his discovery of the tubercle bacillus to the Berlin 
Physiological Society in 1882, many medical scientists did not 
share Koch's view that this bacillus causes tuberculosis. Virchow 
and others argued that since pathogenic micro-organisms lived in 
healthy bodies, they are not the cause of disease. In their view, 
invading micro-organisms could cause disease only after the host 
organism had been weakened by some physiological or environ- 
mental misery." Pasteur and Koch, nevertheless, won deserved 
plaudits for their technical accomplishments; they and their 
followers also won extensive financial support from their govern- 
ments and wealthy individuals alike. In Europe and the United 
States elite physicians perceived the opportunities opening before 
them, and leading capitalists showed their appreciation for 
medical science's ideological role. 

Ideologues for capitalist society promulgated the insufficiency 
of our mastery of nature, the inadequacy of our technological 
development as the fundamental cause of misery. "The trouble 
is," Gates wrote Rockefeller, "that the blanket of happiness 
seems to be too short. If you pull it up at the head you expose the 
feet; if you tuck it in on the one side you uncover the other side." 
While there is probably no way to increase the "sum total of 
human happiness," it is certain that the Rockefeller Institute "is 
actually and enormously decreasing the sum total of human 
misery. "^"^ 

It is clear whence comes the unhappiness. It comes not from 
unequal distribution of wealth, sickening working and living 
conditions, miserable and alienating work, tension caused by 
frequent and prolonged unemployment, economic insecurity, and 
competition among those whose sights are set on higher stations 
in Hfe. "Disease is the supreme ill of human life," Gates 

Scientific Medicine II I 129 

proclaimed, "and it is the main source of almost all other human 
ills, poverty, crime, ignorance, vice, inefficiency, hereditary 
taint, and many other evils. "^^ It is not poverty or one's place in 
the capitalist class structure that breeds misery; it is disease that is 
the cause of the misery commonly attributed to poverty. Misery is 
a technical not a social problem. 

While "the great mass of charities of the world" go around 
helping an individual poor family or indirectly "relieving or 
mitigating such evils and miseries of society as are due mainly to 
disease," the Rockefeller Institute reaches "the root of the evil" 
and cleanses "the very fountains of human misery."^** This human 
unhappiness can be eradicated through science and technology. 
The same forces that helped create America's vast and growing 
industrial base could be turned to eliminating her misery as 
well. Gates thus joined with others in "medicalizing" all social 
problems, defining them out of political struggle and even 
religious morals, and giving them over to technical expertise and 
professional management. 

Rockefeller money did not support medical research that 
investigated the relationship of social factors to health and dis- 
ease. In its first decade, the Rockefeller Institute focused its 
resources on chemistry, biology, pathology, bacteriology, physi- 
ology, pharmacology, and experimental surgery.^'' It ignored the 
impact of the social, economic, and physical environment on 
disease and health. In later years, institute researchers touched 
on the role of nutrition as a contributing factor in malaria and 
some other parasitic and infectious diseases, but even then they 
did not extend their conclusions to the actual social conditions in 
which people lived. ^^ Of the more than 650 men and women who 
contributed their skills to the Rockefeller Institute, few — with the 
notable exception of Rene Dubos — seemed even to understand 
the role of society and environment as forces affecting the very 
diseases they studied. 

This orientation to biological reductionism pervaded the 
Rockefeller medical philanthropies. When Gates, Junior, and 
other men in the Rockefeller Foundation decided to establish the 
first public health school in the United States, they selected Dr. 
Welch and Johns Hopkins University as their vehicles, knowing 
the new school would have a heavy emphasis on the basic sciences 
and not stray too far into social issues. ^^ Charles Wardell Stiles, 

130 I Scientific Medicine II 

the government zoologist who brought the hookworm to the 
attention of the Rockefeller philanthropy and was named scientif- 
ic director of the campaign to eradicate the parasitic disease, 
exhibited a capacity for keeping his nose to the parasites and not 
being distracted by social concerns. In an article on "The Chain 
Gang as a Possible Disseminator of Intestinal Parasites and 
Infections," Stiles offered not one word of criticism of chain 
gangs per se. He limited himself to criticizing the lack of privies 
and bemoaned the missed "opportunities for rigid discipline" that 
could "make these penal institutions admirable schools in which 
the State might easily give its charges some good lessons in 
cleanUness, hygiene, and sanitation. "''^ 


Gates genuinely believed in technical solutions for problems 
of social happiness. But there was another side to Gates. There 
was a side that recognized the exploitation of labor by capital, 
that felt compassion for the oppressed men and women of the 
industrial working class. As a member of the board of directors or 
chairman of the board of more than a dozen corporations, but not 
a part of day-to-day management. Gates was never personally 
involved in labor disputes. From his lofty heights at the top of the 
Rockefeller financial and philanthropic empires. Gates had a 
broad view of the needs of his class and a measured strategy for 
meeting them. 

In 1916, two years after the clamorous criticism over the 
Ludlow massacre and a time when "labor is demanding more 
wages everywhere," Gates asked himself the strategic question, 
"shall one oppose this demand or favor it?" In a memorandum 
for himself, Gates developed his position on "Capital and 
Labor. "''^ First, unionism is selfish, violent, ignorant, perverse, 
and mistaken, he believed. Through unions, labor demands "the 
largest possible wage" and does "the least possible work" 
whereas the public-spirited citizen, whether wealthy capitalist or 
poor laborer, does the "largest possible service" and consumes 
the "least possible amount of the public wealth" by accepting 
private economy and saving. 

Second, the object of labor should be to increase its real 
wages, not merely get a jump on the next guy. "If a few crafts 
become thoroughly unionized and secure their demands, it must 

Scientific Medicine II I i31 

be," Gates observed, "at the expense of all other crafts that are 
not so unionized." Unions seemed to care little that raising the 
wages of any one group will result in an increase in the cost of 
living for all other groups since employers will pass on to 
workers-as-consumers the increase in wages they grant. The wage 
earner will have won his battle. Gates concluded, "not merely 
when he has got his wages, but when he has so got them that they 
will buy more." Higher wages without a higher cost of living is the 
object, "and the only way under heaven in which that can be 
done is by taking the wages out of the returns of the capitalist." 
Gates believed labor's demand for a greater share of the 
wealth was just. The laboring classes are "degraded" by the kind 
of work they have to do, the amount of work required of them, 
and "the deprivations that they have to suffer." The differences 
between rich and poor, capitalist and laborer, "are due not to 
heredity but to environment." The rich and aristocratic have no 
purer blood than the "misshapen, ill-dressed, half-brutalized men 
and women" who have worked the mines from childhood. 

Shall we hate and despise and look down upon these people whom 
our social system has made what they are, or shall we pity them and 
shall we blame ourselves for having made them what they are, for 
keeping them where they are, and for clothing ourselves with the 
fruits of their unpaid labor? 

Frederick Engels was not more eloquent! 

Gates concluded that it was necessary and desirable for capital 
to voluntarily reduce its return on investments from the prevail- 
ing 5 percent to 2 percent and give the balance to the workers. 

Cut down their hours of labor. Improve their living conditions. Give 
them opportunities for music, for pictures, for whatever can 
cultivate them in mind, whatever can beautify and adorn them in 
body. Let us ourselves share to some extent the manual labor of the 
world, and instead of a few rising to the top on the backs of the 
many, let us undertake to build up society in all its parts as a whole 
to a higher level. 

Gates was moved not by compassion but by fear. He and 
other members of America's ruling class were shaken by the 
violent labor struggles, widespread working-class consciousness 
and support for the Socialist party, and unrest among middle- 
class Progressives. Most of this class antagonism was aimed at the 

132 I Scientific Medicine II 

great concentrations of wealth in the industrial monopolies and 
the flaunting of wealth by the Vanderbilts and the Astors. Always 
an advocate of inconspicuous consumption, Gates now privately 
and momentarily looked to corporate-liberal social reforms to 
head off the anticipated cataclysm. 

With the entrance of the United States into the European 
war, full employment and patriotism overwhelmed the Progres- 
sive reform movement and justified repression of the Socialists 
and militant working-class organizations. The immediacy of the 
internal threat passed, and Gates abandoned even his private 
thoughts of redistributing the wealth. Promoting physical and 
social science research continued unaltered as the primary 
foundation program for ameliorating misery although the junior 
Rockefeller developed new programs in the arts to uplift the 
people's culture. 


In addition to the expected material and political benefits of 
medical science, Gates believed that endowing the Rockefeller 
Institute was an ideal investment because of the permanence of 
its findings. Each generation takes from the past and hands on to 
the future "only the things that are proven to be permanently 
useful." The "useless baggage" is dropped and left behind. The 
one thing that "humanity has got to live with" is "old Nature and 
her laws in this world," Gates told his friends at the Rockefeller 
Institute. "These laws do not change and humanity will never 
outlive them. Whatever we discover about Nature and her forces, 
and incorporate into our science, that will be carried forward, 
though all else be forgotten."''^ 

Despite his naive view of science. Gates viewed endowments 
for scientific research as permanent social capital, an investment 
that would continue to return dividends into the distant future. 
Given his broad and long-range perspective of the needs of 
capitalist society. Gates was very attracted to this feature of 
scientific research. 

Aside from its permanence, an investment by Rockefeller in 
an institute for medical research would call forth more money 
into medical research. This one act of philanthropy would "call 
public attention to the importance of research" and encourage 

Scientific Medicine II I 133 

"many thoughtful men of wealth" to endow research in scientific 
medical schools throughout the country.''^ 

In the end, private fortunes and public taxes alike flowed in 
ever-increasing amounts into medical research. In 1911 Gates was 
pleased that other rich men and women had indeed followed the 
example of Rockefeller.'''^ By the mid-1920s Gates felt assured 
that his strategy of encouraging public and private grants had paid 
off. "Never before were the common people so ready to grasp the 
extended hand of a liberal philanthropy," he told fellow trustees 
of the Rockefeller Foundation, "and to cooperate by legal enact- 
ment, liberal taxation, and private munificence."''^ 

All this financial support for medical science and the social 
recognition heaped upon the scientific medical profession by 
members of the upper class had given physicians a higher and 
more secure status. Medical research institutes, Gates observed, 
"have conferred dignity and glory upon medicine," with the 
consequence that the medical profession was awakening "to a 
proud and healthy consciousness of the dignity of its vocation." 
Quite uncynically. Gates believed that "the elevation of the 
medical profession" would further the interests of the profession 
itself and help stabilize a sometimes shaky class structure.''^ 
Capitalist society was gaining another firm supporter as the 
medical profession, cleansed of any social conscience, increasing- 
ly recognized its duty to preserve the existing social order. 

The philanthropic capitalists who supported medical science 
believed it would do more than demonstrate their good works. 
First, reductionist scientific medicine bore a striking, and not 
incidental, similarity to the capitalist world view. Second, scien- 
tific medicine would help integrate all members of society, 
whatever their occupations or social standing, into an industrial- 
technical culture, unifying the fragmented and often fragile 
industrial-capitalist social order. Third, scientific medicine would 
help replace the widespread class theories of misery with the 
perspective that inequalities and unhappiness are technical 
problems susceptible to engineering solutions, thus depoliticizing 
medicine and legitimizing capitalism. Finally, scientific medicine 
would help elevate the medical profession, encouraging a strong- 
er identification of its members with the highest class in society 
and the capitalist order itself. 

134 I Scientific Medicine II 

Gates believed that all these characteristics and consequences 
of scientific medicine were good for society, just as he considered 
socially beneficent the accumulation of wealth by Rockefeller and 
his private decisions as to how it should be spent. Gates' views on 
the benefits of scientific medicine and medical research were 
cleariy shared in practice by other capitalists, government 
officials, and members of the profession. Seldom laid out for 
us with even Gates' minimal explicitness and coherence, their 
perspectives were nevertheless clear in their programs and 
articulated concerns. Gates' views on scientific medicine were 
influential beyond the support given the Rockefeller Institute and 
encouragement given to other programs of medical research. 
Gates had the interest, the ideas, and the money at his disposal to 
formulate and launch numerous programs to develop and extend 
public health work and a major program to reform medical 

John D. Rockefeller, whose Standard Oil fortune financed the vast 
philanthropies in his name, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who took over his 
father's financial empire and philanthropies (1921). Rockefeller Archive Center. 



















































































































































Frederick T. Gates, Baptist minister who became architect of the 
Rockefeller philanthropies and chief of Rockefeller's financial empire 

(1922). Rockefeller Archive Center 














































































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Trustees of the General Education Board, the first Rockefeller founda- 
tion, at a retreat in Rockland, Maine, in July 1915. Front row\from left: 
Edwin A. Alderman, Frederick T. Gates, Charles W. Eliot (former 
president of Harvard University), Harry Pratt Judson (president of 
University of Chicago), Wallace Buttrick (executive officer of the Board). 
Second row, from left: Wickliffe Rose (head of the Rockefeller public health 
programs), Hollis B. Frissell, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., E. C. Sage, Albert 
Shaw, Abraham Flexner. Third row, from left: George E. Vincent 
(president of the Rockefeller Foundation), Anson Phelps Stokes, Starr J. 

Murphy, Jerome D. Greene. Rockefeller Archive Center 


Reforming Medical 
Education: Who Will 
Rule Medicine? 

By the end of the nineteenth century, American physicians were 
still complaining bitterly of their "poverty" and low status in 
American society. Those who had studied in Europe were 
especially struck by the low esteem in which American doctors 
were held compared with their German colleagues. The disparity 
among physicians' incomes left some well off and some poor. As 
the New York State Medical Society's journal put it, "There is a 
handsome income for a few, a competence for the many, and a 
pittance for the majority."^ 

Most professional spokesmen blamed the relative poverty of 
doctors on "overcrowding" in the profession. The AMA Journal 
argued in 1901 that through death and retirement of old doctors 
and the increase in population, there was "room for nearly 3,300 
new doctors each year," but the nation's 160 medical colleges 
were producing nearly double that number.^ 

To deal with these problems, the medical profession adopted 
an effective strategy of reform based on scientific medicine and 
the developing medical sciences. Their plan was to gain control 
over medical education for the organized profession representing 
practitioners in alliance with scientific medical faculty. Their 
measures involved large expenditures for medical education and 
required a major change in the financing of medical schools. 
Dependent on outside capital, the profession opened the door to 

136 I Reforming Medical Education 

outside influence. The corporate philanthropies that intervened 
turned the campaign to reform medical education into a struggle 
for control between private practitioners, on the one hand, and 
academic doctors and the corporate capitalist class, on the other. 
The conflict over who would rule medical education, to which we 
now turn, was fundamentally a question of whose interests the 
medical care system would serve. 


By 1900 the strategy evolved by elite physicians to reduce the 
number of doctors, increase incomes, and raise the social class 
base of the profession began to pay off. Medical research, despite 
its limited financial support, was building pubHc confidence in 
modern practitioners. Reforms were being pressed in some 
leading universities, setting a new standard that others would 
soon be forced to follow. Most states had established medical 
licensing boards, however varied the standards they imposed. 
The Illinois Board of Health in particular had begun a crude 
evaluation of all medical schools in the United States and 
Canada. Its report pubhshed in 1889 shook more than a few of 
the 179 schools of the regular sect, twenty-six homeopathic, 
twenty-six eclectic, thirteen miscellaneous, and thirteen schools 
condemned as "fraudulent."^ 

All these advances did not yet resolve two major obstacles to 
professional uplift. First, medical schools remained unregulated. 
In the final quarter of the nineteenth century more than 114 new 
schools had been founded. "^ The finances of medical schools 
forced their faculties to oppose the reformers' strategy of 
promoting scientific medicine to reduce output. Medical schools 
were for the most part small profit-making enterprises, owned 
mainly by their faculties. The only commodities they could sell 
were medical degrees. Dependent for their survival as well as 
their profits on student fees, the schools continued to pour forth 
their products. Being proprietary in character but profitable only 
to the faculty directly involved, they were unable to attract 
outside capital or operating funds to support expensive teaching 
and research programs necessary to scientific medical education. 
Thus, "scientific medicine" was taught at only a few university 
medical schools, and to a limited extent even in those — except for 
Johns Hopkins, which was far from the norm. 

Reforming Medical Education I 137 

The second obstacle to implementing the reform strategy was 
the organizational disarray of the profession itself. The AMA had 
failed in its mission. It was by-passed in the last part of the 
century by specialty societies which formed an aUiance in 1888 in 
the American Congress of Physicians and Surgeons. The Ameri- 
can Academy of Medicine and other groups were formed to fill 
the reform role left vacant by the AMA. Membership in local and 
state medical societies did not confer membership in the national 
association, isolating it from the majority of practitioners. By 
1900, only 8,400 physicians were members of the AMA.^ The 
national leadership, without structural ties to state and local 
societies, operated within a vacuum. Structurally weak, numeri- 
cally small, dominated by traditional doctors only half-heartedly 
committed to scientific medicine, the "voice of the medical 
profession" seemed to have laryngitis. 

Before the medical profession could secure reforms in medical 
education, it had to strengthen its own organization. After some 
stalled attempts at reorganization at the end of the nineteenth 
century, the reformers won support from state medical societies 
and completely reorganized the AMA at the 1901 convention in 
St. Paul. The new organization, which continues to this day, 
made the local medical society the basic unit of the association. 
Individual physicians would join a local society. The local society 
would send representatives to a state society, which in turn would 
elect delegates to the newly formed house of delegates, the 
legislative body of the national association. The president of the 
AMA and a board of trustees were given substantial powers. 
With the campaign skillfully managed by Dr. George H. Sim- 
mons, the reform leader recently appointed secretary of the 
AMA and editor of its Journal, and with the convention sessions 
presided over by Dr. Charles A. L. Reed, the reorganization plan 
was instituted without discussion.^ 

The reorganization created a hierarchical, representative 
structure. The direct line of authority depended on the strength 
of the local societies, always the strongholds of professional 
interests. The new structure gave the state and national organiza- 
tions stable leadership, which could more effectively coordinate 
and mobilize resources for the profession's interests. The plan 
was intended, and succeeded, to federate state societies into the 
national association and, in the words of the committee on 
reorganization, "to foster scientific medicine and to make the 

138 I Reforming Medical Education 

medical profession a power in the social and political life of the 

Doctors with a vision of uniting the profession behind a 
campaign to elevate it moved from the wings onto center stage. 
George Simmons invigorated the Journal with the mission of the 
reform movement. AMA leaders asked physicians around the 
country to spur legislative reforms, control state licensing boards, 
and goad medical schools into altering their admission criteria 
and curricula. The increased effectiveness of the AMA brought 
support and membership from the many specialists who seemed 
to have forgotten that they were physicians first and surgeons or 
gynecologists second. Private practitioners of all types rose to 
support the coordinated local-state-national vehicle for their 
common interests. By 1910 some 70,000 doctors were AMA 
members, more than eight times the membership at the turn of 
the century. 

Although many rank-and-file physicians were unhappy with 
the centralized control emanating from the AMA's Chicago 
offices and with the reform strategy itself, most physicians 
undoubtedly supported the movement.^ Most physicians resented 
the economic and social conditions of the profession, particularly 
when they realized that things could be better. They understood 
that competition among physicians for a greater share of the 
available medical dollars would help only a few and that the 
interests of every physician were tied to the interests of the 
profession as a whole. 

The reform leadership, representing a coalition of private 
practitioners and medical school faculty, articulated the desires of 
most doctors for financial and social uplift, and offered a viable 
strategy for achieving them. This coalition controlled the *AMA 
from the end of the nineteenth century until World War I, sharing 
the association's presidency and jointly implementing its reform 


Once in control of the reorganized AMA, the reformers 
launched their most effective tool for transforming the profes- 
sion. In 1904 the AMA replaced its temporary committee on 
medical education with a permanent Council on Medical Educa- 

Reforming Medical Education I 139 

tion, headed by the energetic and resourceful Arthur Dean 
Sevan, a successful surgeon and part-time professor at Rush 
Medical College in Chicago. The new council was armed with a 
staff to help it exert "a national influence and control of medical 
education. "^° 

To facilitate that control, it invited state licensing boards to a 
national conference in 1905 to review the status of medical 
education and set standards. There the council adopted "an ideal 
standard to work for in the future" — one that would raise U.S. 
medical education to the same basis as England, France, and 
Germany — and "a minimum standard for the time being." The 
temporary standard was: (1) a preHminary education of four 
years of high school, (2) a four-year medical course, and (3) 
passing an examination before a state licensing board.'' 

Bevan urged local and state medical societies to become more 
active in the reform movement and to see that "the right sort of 
men" were appointed to the Hcensing boards. Within two years 
the state medical societies, under the guidance of the Council on 
Medical Education, dominated the state boards. Through the 
influence of the state societies and direct contact by the council, 
the licensing boards increasingly became agents of the council's 
plan of action.'^ 

The more the state boards cooperated with the council to 
accept diplomas only from medical schools "in good standing" 
and to gear their examinations to the curricula of scientific 
medical schools, the more uncertain was the future of all medical 
schools except those elite schools already geared to the needs of 
scientific medicine. Those schools that could tap sufficient 
resources to provide laboratories, "cHnical material," and scien- 
tifically trained faculty had a reasonably good prognosis. The 
graduates of such schools were allowed by the state boards to 
take their licensing exams, and they had a fairly good chance of 
passing. There was little incentive for students to attend and pay 
the fees of unapproved schools and schools whose graduates 
tended to flunk the licensing examinations. But state boards were 
not uniformly in the hands of the state medical societies, so the 
council developed a new tactic to upgrade medical education, 
close more schools, and develop a controlling role for itself in the 

In 1906 the council inspected every one of the country's 160 

140 I Reforming Medical Education 

medical schools. Each school was personally visited by council 
secretary Dr. N. P. Colwell or another council member and was 
rated on the percentage of its graduates who passed the state 
licensing exams, enforcement of preliminary education require- 
ments, curriculum, laboratory and clinical facilities and instruc- 
tion, laboratory science faculty, and whether the school was run 
for a profit. Reports on each school were sent to the state 
licensing boards, and the percentage of each school's graduates 
who failed state board examinations was published in the AMA 
Journal. ^^ 

In 1907 the council divided medical schools into classes A, B, 
and C, depending on their ratings. Of the 160 schools inspected, 
eighty-two were rated as class A medical colleges, forty-six were 
class B, and thirty-two class C. The impact of the council's report 
was significant. Fifty schools agreed to require one year each 
of college physics, chemistry, biology, and a modern language 
before admission to the medical program. Sensing doom, a 
number of schools consolidated with other medical schools in 
their cities, combining facilities and staffs. Other schools realized 
that they did not have the resources to survive the heightened 
competition. By 1910 the number of schools had fallen from a 
high of 166 to 131.^" 

While the practitioner reform leaders were pressing for stiffer 
standards within medical education, the medical schools them- 
selves were doing their best to survive. The Association of 
American Medical Colleges (AAMC), representing about a third 
of all American medical colleges, sought to differentiate its 
member schools — "the better classes of medical colleges" — from 
run-of-the-mill schools. They were concerned that rising stan- 
dards in admission and instruction would bankrupt even the best 
schools. As the representative of the elite portion of scientific 
medicine's rear guard — the schools themselves — the AAMC 
favored cooperation between itself, the Council on Medical 
Education, and the association of state licensing boards. The 
AAMC sought uniform minimum standards for all states so that 
each state's requirements of medical schools would come "up to, 
but not beyond," the standard recommended by a joint commit- 
tee of all three bodies. ^^ 

Ahhough the Council on Medical Education had neither legal 
powers nor authority within the profession, council chairman 
Bevan, AMA secretary and Journal editor Simmons, and other 

Reforming Medical Education I 141 

professional reformers well understood the role of leadership and 
the powerful advantage of articulating a strategy consistent with 
historical forces. Science's time had arrived in medicine: A 
middle and upper class whose dominance depended on industri- 
alization was receptive to what scientific medicine advocates 
within the profession offered. State licensing boards, under the 
influence or in the hands of the medical societies, assured the 
dominance of scientific schools and the competitive disadvan- 
tages of economically weaker schools. The cost of a scientific 
medical education was shattering the financial arrangements of 
proprietary medical schools. The council could not order schools 
closed, but it ralHed poHtical allies in the state boards and the 
forces of the marketplace to wreck the ancien regime. 


The reforms initiated and pressed by the AMA leadership 
were clearly having their desired impact. But the profession's 
power to accomplish its ultimate goals was limited. Scientific 
medicine was an expensive affair. Nearly all medical schools at 
the end of the nineteenth century relied for most of their support 
on students' tuition fees. Most independent medical colleges and 
many of those nominally associated with universities had no other 
source of income. Yet the teaching of scientific medicine required 
expensive laboratory buildings, a teaching hospital and teaching 
cHnic, and equipment. Some of these facilities could be obtained 
from local men and women of wealth if faculty members had 
fashionable private practices. Some facilities could be had if the 
medical school was affiliated with a well-endowed university. 
However, more than facilities were needed. 

The largest operating expense for a scientific medical school 
was the faculty to teach the laboratory science courses. A 
practitioner might be good enough to teach chnical courses, but 
he usually was not expert enough in physiology, bacteriology, or 
pathology. The basic medical sciences had to be taught by 
medical scientists who were specially trained in that area and 
whose on-going research kept them abreast of developments in 
their field. These faculty had to devote their full time to teaching 
and research, and they were the largest operating expense of a 
turn-of-the-century scientific medical school. 

The cost of a scientific medical education was beyond the 

142 I Reforming Medical Education 

means of students. "It costs more to educate a medical student," 
Bevan noted, "than he can pay in the way of fees.'"^ The capital 
investment and operating costs for scientific medical education 
were also beyond the means of the profession itself. Wealthy 
physicians might provide a small portion of the capital for a 
medical college, but the reformers recognized early that most of 
the capital for scientific medical schools would have to come from 
outside the profession. ^^ States might be persuaded to support 
state institutions, but most medical schools and universities — and 
certainly the most elite — were privately controlled. "The public 
must be taught the necessities and the possibilities of modern 
medicine," Bevan argued, and philanthropists must be shown 
that medicine deserves their endowments. ^^ Because of the 
amounts involved, much of the money would have to come from 
the fortunes of the very wealthiest men and women in America. 
The medical reformers were well aware of the dangers of help 
from the outside. "Rich men may injure the cause of medical 
education," the AMA Journal warned in 1901, unless their giving 
is directed by the profession itself. ^^ With the blessings of the rest 
of the profession's leadership, Bevan took on the task of getting 
and guiding endowments for medical colleges. "We must secure 
for them state aid and private endowment," he told the council's 
1907 national conference. "We must start an active, organized 
propaganda for money for medical education."^" 


Impressed with the impact of the council's own survey, Bevan 
turned to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of 
Teaching. He sought the foundation's help, not just to replicate 
the council's own work, but to add to their campaign the 
foundation's developing prestige and image of "objectivity." 
Bevan understood the foundation's potential for molding public 
opinion and providing a credible blueprint for philanthropists to 
follow while channeling their money into medical education. It 
was also clear that an agency outside the profession could openly 
attack medical schools that resisted reorganizing themselves or 
going out of business without once again spHtting medical school 
faculty off from the reform leadership. At the council's first 

Reforming Medical Education I 143 

national conference in 1905, Bevan criticized proprietary medical 
schools as an obstacle to reform, but he felt compelled by the 
need for diplomacy to urge leniency because of the "property and 
professional interest" invested in them.^^ 

In 1907 Bevan invited Henry S. Pritchett, president of the 
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, to 
examine the survey materials collected by the council. Meeting at 
the Chicago Club, Bevan and Pritchett saw eye-to-eye on the 
value of a Carnegie-sponsored study of medical education. For 
Bevan the Carnegie study would be the big guns in the campaign 
for medical education reform. Pritchett was sympathetic to that 
concern, but mainly in the context of the foundation's program to 
reform and rationalize the nation's colleges and universities, 
including its professional schools. ^^ 

The foundation had been established in 1905 to upgrade the 
status of college teachers while creating a uniform system of 
higher education. Out of discussions between Andrew Carnegie 
and Pritchett emerged a plan to advance teaching by the carrot- 
and-stick method. The new foundation provided an initial en- 
dowment of $10 million to support a retirement program for 
college teachers. The pensions would be given without any cost to 
the institution or its individual teachers, but each college must 
meet the conditions laid down by the foundation. Denomina- 
tional colleges were not eligible for the pension plan. Religion 
was, of course, an important moral force, but it would not pro- 
mote the universality of science; colleges controlled by compet- 
ing denominations would be more concerned with propagating 
the faith than with training scientists and engineers. Denomina- 
tional colleges, hoping to make themselves more attractive to 
faculty, besieged the foundation with inquiries about how to 
amend their charters to make themselves eligible for free pen- 
sions. In addition, the foundation imposed academic and financial 
requirements designed to force the poorer colleges to match the 
academic standards of the better colleges and to make higher 
education follow a uniform pattern throughout the country." 

Thus, Bevan's request for a study of medical schools fit well 
with the foundation's general program and provided an oppor- 
tunity for the foundation to move into reforming professional 
education. Pritchett discussed the proposed study with Charles 
Eliot, president of Harvard and a trustee of the Carnegie 

144 I Reforming Medical Education 

Foundation, Rockefeller's General Education Board, and the 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. He also talked with 
Dr. Simon Flexner, director of the Rockefeller Institute. Flexner 
suggested a director for the study, his brother Abraham. The 
suggestion meshed well with Pritchett's conception of the study as 
contributing to the reform of higher education. ^"^ 

Abraham Flexner was a professional educator. He got his 
bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins in two years of diligent 
and hard work. He later founded and ran his own college 
preparatory school in Louisville and afterwards spent a year in 
advanced study in education at Harvard. While in Heidelberg in 
the summer of 1908, Flexner wrote The American College, which, 
in his own words, "fell quite flat." Late in the summer of 1908 
Flexner returned from Europe unemployed and "prepared to do 
almost anything." Hoping to get a job, Flexner initiated a 
meeting with Pritchett. They talked about higher education and 
its problems and found they agreed on the necessity for reform. 
"When I next saw him," Flexner later recalled, "he asked me 
whether I would like to make a study of medical schools." 
Flexner was enthusiastic, "but it occurred to me that Dr. Pritchett 
was confusing me with my brother Simon at the Rockefeller 
Institute, and I called his attention to the fact that I was not a 
medical man and had never had my foot inside a medical school." 

"That is precisely what I want," replied Pritchett. "I think 
these professional schools should be studied not from the point of 
view of the practitioner but from the standpoint of the educator. I 
know your brother, so that I am not laboring under any con- 
fusion. This is a layman's job, not a job for a medical man."^^ 

A report on medical education by a physician would lack 
credibility, and it would feed the divisions between practitioners 
and part-time medical school faculty. Moreover, Pritchett, while 
certainly not adverse to aiding medical professionals, wanted 
medical education integrated into a general system of education. 
A report by an educator sold on the importance of a scientific 
medical profession would provide both the right perspective and 

At their November 1908 meeting, Pritchett asked the Carne- 
gie Foundation trustees to authorize the study and appropriate 
the necessary funds. With their approval, Flexner immediately 
began his study. ^"^ Bevan directed the reform campaign, Pritchett 

Reforming Medical Education I 145 

financed it with Carnegie's money, and Abraham Flexner 
implemented it. 


A scholarly technician, Flexner began by reading up on the 
history of medical education in Europe and America. He went to 
Chicago to discuss the study with George Simmons, secretary of 
the AMA and editor of its Journal. He also met with Bevan and 
Colwell, secretary of the Council on Medical Education. He read 
Colwell's reports on medical schools and found them "creditable 
and painstaking documents" but "extremely diplomatic." 

Flexner then visited his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, where he 
met with the medical school's leading faculty members, Drs. 
Welch, Halsted, Mall, Abel, and Howell. Flexner found Hopkins 
"a small but ideal medical school embodying in a novel way, 
adapted to American conditions, the best features of medical 
education in England, France, and Germany." Hopkins became 
the living model for Flexner. "Without this pattern in the back of 
my mind, I could have accomplished little. "^^ 

Flexner saw his mission as translating the Hopkins medical 
school into a standard against which to judge all other medical 
education in the United States. All others paled before this "one 
bright spot." Flexner's praise of Hopkins grew ecstatic: 

It possessed ideals and men who embodied them, and from it have 
emanated the influences that in a half-century have lifted American 
medical education from the lowest status to the highest in the 
civilized world. All honor to Oilman, Welch, Mall, Halsted, and 
their colleagues and students who hitched their wagon to a star and 
never flinched!" 

Flexner visited every one of the 155 medical schools in the 
United States and Canada. Colwell, of the AMA, went with him 
to most of them. In nearly all cases, the school administrators and 
faculty laid bare the facts of their existence — facilities, laboratory 
equipment, numbers of faculty and their qualifications, numbers 
of students and their preparation, the curriculum, patients avail- 
able as teaching material, income from student fees, and endow- 
ments. ^° 

Even administrators and faculty who knew their schools were 

146 I Reforming Medical Education 

deficient in many assets the Council on Medical Education 
believed important permitted Flexner and Colwell access to 
facilities, staff, and account books. Many of the schools were run 
by doctors who were committed to elevating the profession and 
saw the importance of creating scientific medical schools. Even 
more persuasive in opening medical schools to inspection was 
that deans, faculty, and trustees of most medical schools be- 
lieved that Flexner's visit "would be followed by gifts from Mr. 
Carnegie to set things right." Whatever fear the medical school 
deans and faculty had of the consequences of pubHc criticism, 
they understood that failure to comply with the Carnegie study 
would result in their rapid demise. The market for medical 
students was very competitive, and bad publicity would do 
serious injury. But riskier still were the dynamics of the competi- 
tive market. If many competing medical schools that cooperated 
with the Carnegie study got a large advantage — for example, a 
new laboratory or an endowment — the financial collapse and 
demise of the disadvantaged was assured. ^^ 

Some colleges resisted inspection, but resistance was grounds 
for suspicion. To the recalcitrant medical schools, Pritchett let it 
be known that "all colleges and universities, whether supported 
by taxation or by private endowment, are in truth public service 
corporations," and, therefore, the foundation, the medical pro- 
fession, and the public had a right to know about their finances 
and educational practices. Rather than fear intervention by out- 
siders, the leading reformers in the profession savored this attitude 
of the foundation. Not only did this attitude support their cam- 
paign, but it recognized medicine as a vital societal function. ^^ 

flexner's findings 

Flexner visited the medical schools and wrote his report in the 
space of eighteen months. His whistle-stop tour and his acerbic 
comments on what he saw gave him a reputation, even among 
medical reformers, for being "erratic" and "hasty in judgment." 
The medical faculty at Harvard were insulted and in return cast 
aspersions on his ability while the faculties at lesser schools 
merely bristled." 

Not coincidentally, Flexner's criticisms of American medical 
schools and his recommendations for reform were perfectly 

Reforming Medical Education I 147 

consistent with those of the leading medical profession reformers. 
Flexner attacked medical schools for producing too many doc- 
tors, for requiring too little education before admission to 
medical school, for having inadequate facilities and faculty and 
providing inadequate training, and for creating a social composi- 
tion for the medical profession that was inappropriate to its 
important social role. 

Flexner and Pritchett both attached great importance to 
medicine's changing role in society. The physician's function 
in society, traditionally "individual and curative," was rapidly 
becoming "social and preventive. "^"^ If "society relies" on doctors 
for important social functions, then "the interests of the social 
order" must be considered first in any public policy for reforming 
the profession. ^^ What was wrong with the medical profession 
from society's point of view? 

Overcrowding was the most serious problem with the profes- 
sion, according to Pritchett and Flexner. If Germany could thrive 
with one doctor for every 2,000 inhabitants, then the United 
States, with an average of one doctor for every 568 persons, 
suffered from a severe oversupply of physicians. Overcrowding 
forces professionals into competition with one another, fighting 
for a relatively inelastic market of patients and encouraging one 
another to perform unnecessary services to increase their in- 
comes. Overcrowding "decreases the number of well-trained men 
who can count on the profession for a livelihood," reducing the 
attractiveness of a medical career to competent men. "The 
country needs fewer and better doctors," Flexner argued, and 
''the way to get them better is to produce fewer. "^^ 

The main reason for the overcrowding of the profession, as 
well as for its generally low standards, was the prevalence of 
"commercial" medical schools. Only fifty of the 155 medical 
colleges were integral parts of universities. The rest, whether 
independent or nominally affiHated with a university, were in 
reality run by the medical faculty alone without any outside 
control. These proprietary schools depended on students' fees, 
which were divided up among the local practitioners who were 
lecturers in the school. Many of the faculty fattened their incomes 
through "the consultations which the loyalty of their former 
students threw into their hands." Faculty chairs in the commer- 

148 I Reforming Medical Education 

cial schools were bought and sold, sometimes for as much as 

Commercial medical schools dragged down medical education 
in its entirety, argued Flexner. Their incomes based entirely on 
student fees, the schools tended to admit as many students as 
possible and to reduce their expenses as much as possible. Since 
lectures were the cheapest form of education — in which the 
income from student fees went directly to the faculty instead of 
being invested in buildings, laboratories, or equipment — medical 
education came to consist almost entirely of lectures until the 
1880s. The necessity of laboratory and clinical training for the 
scientific medical doctor greatly strained the resources of propri- 
etary medical schools. The choice was clear. "The medical pro- 
fession is an organ differentiated by society for its own highest 
purposes, not a business to be exploited by individuals according 
to their own fancy. "^® To assure its public service character, 
medical schools must be made integral parts of universities. 

The social importance of the medical profession meant not 
only that medical education should not be left to proprietary 
organization, but that it should be reserved for those who could 
afford "a liberal and disinterested educational experience." Pro- 
prietary medical schools, with their admission requirements of 
four years of high school or its "equivalent," attracted "a mass 
of unprepared youth . . . drawn out of industrial occupations 
into the study of medicine." Neither "the crude boy" nor "the 
jaded clerk" were suitable material for a career in medicine. ^^ 
Flexner proposed a minimum two years of college for admission 
to medical school at a time when only 15 percent of the high 
school age population was enrolled in high school and only 5 
percent of the college age population was enrolled in a college or 
university. "^^ 

Consistent with the racism of his period, Flexner argued that 
"the practice of the Negro doctor would be limited to his own 
race." However, "self-protection not less than humanity" should 
encourage white society to support improved training for black 
physicians: "ten miUions of them live in close contact with sixty 
million whites." In addition, the importance of black physicians 
in facilitating "the mental and moral improvement" of their race 
required creating an ehte core of scientific black doctors. 
Applying the formula of "the fewer, the better," Flexner 

Reforming Medical Education I 149 

recommended that of seven black medical schools then in 
existence, only Meharry and Howard be continued/* 

Flexner also recommended closing the three women's medical 
colleges. Schools for women alone were unnecessary and ineffi 
cient since ''medical education is now . . . open to women upon 
practically the same terms as men." If the number of women 
medical students was dechning, it demonstrated a lack of either 
"any strong demand for women physicians or any strong ungrati- 
fied desire on the part of women to enter the profession," or 
both. Flexner seemed to believe, with most of his peers, that 
women are seldom equipped for the mental rigors of medicine 
and, if middle or upper class, women make better patients than 

The very clear consequence was to be an across-the-board 
reduction in the production of doctors, with especially large 
reductions in the numbers of poor and working-class young men, 
blacks, and women entering the medical profession. The social 
class and status of medicine would be raised, together with the 
incomes of physicians, to a level appropriate to its role in society. 
These changes were made necessary, according to Flexner, by the 
requirements of scientific medicine as well as by medicine's new 
social role. 

Flexner found that only twenty-three of the country's 155 
medical schools required two or more years of college prelimi- 
nary to medical school. And 132 schools admitted students with a 
high school education or its "equivalent." The latter would be a 
tolerable "temporary adjustment" where there were not enough 
college students to fill the medical school openings, but two years 
of college provides "the varied and enlarging cultural experi- 
ence" necessary to a modern physician.'*^ 

Instruction in biology, chemistry, and physics should be 
required before the student could enter medical school. The 
medical college curriculum was to proceed from there. In the first 
two years the student would study anatomy, physiology, bacteri- 
ology, pathology, and pharmacology. With this thorough ground- 
ing in the laboratory sciences, the student would spend his or her 
third and fourth years in supervised clinical study. Only the better 
medical schools, affiUated with universities and requiring two 
years preliminary college education, provided the model curricu- 

]50 I Reforming Medical Education 

Flexner's report thus sought to place medical education on a 
uniform basis consistent with the needs of scientific medicine and 
to elevate the status of the medical profession to a position 
consistent with its important social role. This mission required 
eliminating both proprietary schools and the lower classes, 
restricting the opportunities of women and blacks to enter the 
practice of medicine, as well as increasing the preliminary 
requirements and standardizing the curriculum into a graded, 
four-year program. Reducing the supply of physicians was no 
mere by-product of Flexner's program. "The improvement of 
medical education cannot," he argued, "be resisted on the 
ground that it will destroy schools and restrict output: that is 
precisely what is needed.'"*^ 

Flexner's analysis and recommendations were strikingly like 
those of the leading reformers of his time within the profession. 
For at least a decade before Flexner's report was published in 
1910, medical journals argued that the profession was overcrowd- 
ed and that improving medical education was the best means of 
restricting output. "We raise the standard of medical education 
year by year, yet the mushroom colleges do not go," Frank 
Lydston complained to his colleagues in 1900. "We have done the 
best we could to breed competition by manufacturing doctors.'"*^ 

In 1901 the AMA Journal warned that the growth of the 
medical profession should be stemmed "if the individual mem- 
bers are to find the practice of medicine a lucrative occupation.'"*'' 
And in 1905, Council on Medical Education member V. C. 
Vaughan told the council's first national conference that "the 
supply quite equals the demand, and for this reason the time is 
propitious for raising the barrier to admission one notch high- 
gj. "48 yj^g argument that medical students should be drawn only 
from the better classes hkewise did not originate with Flexner."*' 

At their 1905 national conference and in the following year, 
the council had urged a temporary preliminary education require- 
ment of high school graduation and one year each of university 
physics, chemistry, and biology. The council had also recom- 
mended a curriculum of four years, with anatomy, physiology, 
pathology, pharmacology, and bacteriology in the first two years 
and supervised clinical study in the last two.^° 

Strict university affiliation had been a cornerstone of the 
medical education reform movement for at least forty years by 

Reforming Medical Education I 151 

the time Flexner published his report. The university affiUations 
of most nineteenth-century medical colleges provided the medical 
school with prestige and legitimacy and gave the university credit 
for having a medical school, but there were few administrative or 
academic ties. Charles Eliot, when he assumed the presidency of 
Harvard in 1869, asserted the authority of the university over the 
medical faculty and turned the medical school over "like a 
flapjack," in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, then a faculty 
member in the school. Eliot's new regime raised entrance re- 
quirements, instituted scientific medical courses, and forced the 
faculty to submit to the normal university administrative and 
academic authorities. Eliot hoped to attract an endowment by 
demonstrating that the medical school was no longer a private 
venture "for the benefit of a few physicians and surgeons." His 
plan was successful. Subordination of the medical school to the 
university became a key plank in the platform of medical 
education reformers.^' 

The coincidence of Flexner's and the profession's analysis and 
recommendations could be due to the compelling claims of 
scientific medicine. That is, any two investigators of the medical 
profession at that time might have been led to more or less the 
same conclusions because, within the strategy of developing 
medical science, the deficiencies of the profession and medical 
training were obvious. But the relationship of Flexner to the 
profession was close. His brother was director of the country's 
leading medical research institute, and he consulted at great 
length with the AMA leadership throughout his study. 

In fact, it was explicitly understood from the beginning that 
the Carnegie study would be part of the council's campaign, 
lending credibility to the council's plans for reforms. Six months 
before Flexner's report was published, Pritchett, president of the 
Carnegie Foundation, wrote Bevan: 

In all this work of the examination of the medical schools we have 
been hand in glove with you and your committee. In fact, we have 
only taken up the matter and gone on with the examination very 
much as you were doing, except that as an independent agency 
disconnected from actual practice, we may do certain things which 
you perhaps may not. When our report comes out, it is going to be 
ammunition in your hands." 

152 I Reforming Medical Education 

Bevan, anxious to start getting mileage out of the Carnegie 
study, wanted Flexner and Pritchett to speak at an AMA meeting 
several months before the report was to be published. Pritchett 
was concerned that if the conspiracy between the foundation and 
the AMA was made visible — and especially before publication — 
the report would lose some credibility, and the foundation's 
"disinterested" image would be tarnished. "It is desirable," he 
privately added to Bevan, "to maintain in the meantime a posi- 
tion which does not intimate an immediate connection between 
our two efforts." 

This sort of deception increased the credibility of the Flexner 
report, but it was not essential to the transformation underway. It 
merely helped along the social and economic forces already in 


When the Flexner report was published as "Bulletin Number 
Four," the Carnegie Foundation found itself the object of "more 
stone-throwing than was to be expected" for its association with 
the "Medical Trust" — the AMA and its Council on Medical 
Education. Pritchett was embarrassed by the "somewhat dogmat- 
ic appearance" of the report which lent credibility to charges of 
collusion with the AMA, but Bevan and the AMA felt "very 
much flattered by such an association." Regardless of how 
Pritchett felt about the public impugning of the foundation's 
reputation, neither he nor the foundation backed down from its 
support for the AMA." 

Pritchett did not consider that aligning his foundation with the 
medical professionals might compromise the foundation's larger 
objectives. Only in 1913 did he begin to see a conflict developing 
between the profession's objectives of closing medical schools 
right and left and the foundation's goals of rationalizing higher 
education and providing for a professional group to fulfill an 
important function in society. The council's demand for one year 
of college preparation for admission to every medical school in 
the country did not take account of regional differences and 
especially the relative backwardness of the South. Pritchett 
feared that the very classification scheme that so impressed him in 
1907 was being used to set medical education off from the rest of 

Reforming Medical Education I 153 

the school system, rather than gradually pressuring the lower 
schools to meet the preliminary training needs of the medical 
schools. He accused the council of disregarding "the educational 
results which the school system itself can turn out," and he 
warned that "your power will quickly disappear if you advocate 
courses which are educationally indefensible."^"^ 

Pritchett gradually came to realize that the medical profes- 
sion's interests would lead it to actions that conflicted with the 
interests that the foundation wanted to further. By 1918 it was 
clear to Pritchett that the AMA would wreck all medical edu- 
cation for blacks if left to its own devices. Believing in the 
social importance of black doctors among black people, the 
Carnegie Foundation was supporting the Meharry medical school 
while the council was rating it a class B school. Pritchett protested 
the "grave injustice done to the negro [sic] schools" by the 
council's de facto policy of not extending to them the same 
leniency given to white schools in the South. The policies of the 
zealous AMA reformers were closing medical schools and 
disrupting the attempts to build a uniform school system, all 
without regard for the public interest as defined by the leading 
foundations. Pritchett threatened to call a meeting of his and the 
Rockefeller foundations, representatives of some licensing 
boards, and the dozen "stronger medical schools" to force the 
council to "revise its present classification of medical schools."" 
Within a decade of his cordial meeting with Bevan at the Chicago 
Club, Pritchett had come to view the council's power in much the 
way Dr. Frankenstein viewed his own creation. 

Pritchett's dismay at the council's use of its power was 
undoubtedly made more painful because of the influence exerted 
by the Carnegie report. It is sometimes forgotten that the report 
did not create the movement for medical school reform. The 
movement for scientific medical education had borne its first fruit 
four decades earlier. Charles Eliot had led the reform of the 
Harvard medical school beginning in 1870. Also in the seventies 
the first teaching hospital was founded by an American university 
in Michigan, state medical licensing boards were reestablished, 
and the Illinois board had begun a series of influential reports 
on medical schools. The Council on Medical Education's own 
survey of medical schools in 1907 was, of course, the model for 
Flexner's study and had a substantial impact itself. The pro- 

154 I Reforming Medical Education 

fession's increasing control of state boards made rapid "progress" 
possible. ^^ 

Flexner noted that even before his study was published, great 
strides had been made in reforming medical education. Medical 
school programs had been extended to four years, clinical 
teaching had been added to didactic methods, laboratories were 
widely available and had been expanded, admission standards 
had been adopted and were Hved up to with varying degrees of 
commitment, and state boards — the police power behind the 
reform movement — had been created in most states. The conse- 
quences of these changes were admirable. The number of medical 
schools was declining, he noted, and independent and commer- 
cial schools were rapidly giving up the ghost." 

Flexner's report thus aided a process already underway. The 
rate of consolidation and elimination of medical schools was as 
rapid before the report as after. Between 1904 and 1915 some 
ninety-two schools closed their doors or merged, forty-four of 
them in the first six years to 1909 and forty-eight in the second six 
years to 1915.^^ 

Cut off from sources of funding, in part by Flexner's 
recommendation, the five disapproved medical schools for blacks 
soon closed. With racism as rampant in white medical schools and 
medical societies as throughout the rest of the society, medical 
care for blacks declined even further. In 1910 there was one black 
doctor for every 2,883 black people in the United States 
(compared with one physician to ever>' 684 people for the nation 
as a whole), but by 1942 the ratio had grown further to one black 
physician for every 3,377 black people.^' Flexner's attitude 
toward women in medicine, more extreme than the views of 
many of his contemporaries, certainly contributed to keeping 
women at an average of less than 5 percent of all medical 
graduates from 1900 until World War II. Today women constitute 
about a fifth of all medical students and blacks about 6 percent, 
both far less than their proportions in the population but 
substantially higher than a decade earlier because of the recent 
struggle for an affirmative action policy in medical school 

Flexner's report also contributed to eliminating sectarian 
medical colleges. Scientific schools no longer called themselves 
"regular." By 1932 Arthur Dean Bevan was able to say apprecia- 

Reforming Medical Education I 155 

tively, "We were, of course, very grateful to Pritchett and to 
Flexner" for enabling "us to put out of business" the homeopath- 
ic and eclectic medical schools in existence in 1910.^^ Flexner's 
contribution was not as substantial as Bevan remembered: The 31 
homeopathic and eclectic schools surviving in 1910 were down a 
third from their number in 1900. ^* 

The report's direct impact on the profession was moderate, 
but its consequences were indirectly monumental. As Flexner 
himself pointed out, the report spoke to the public on behalf of 
the medical reform movement. It helped "educate" the public to 
accept scientific medicine, and, most important, it "educated" 
wealthy men and women to channel their philanthropy to support 
research-oriented scientific medical education. The Flexner 
report and the Carnegie Foundation's support brought economic 
and political power into the war as partisans of the "regular" 
doctors cum-scientific medical men. 

Within a year following the report's publication, the General 
Education Board entered the fray in earnest. By 1920 the GEB 
had appropriated nearly $15 million for medical education and by 
1929 a total of more than $78 million. By 1938 contributions from 
all foundations to medical schools exceeded $150 million. ^^ The 
frequently used matching grant policy, requiring the recipient 
institution to raise an equal sum itself, greatly increased the 
impact of their funds. Because the foundation grants were 
conditional on specific reforms in the medical schools, the 
foundations exerted a major influence. They forced schools to 
adopt a research orientation, required teaching hospitals to 
subordinate their autonomy and patient care to the needs and 
authority of a university medical school, and established salaried 
clinical professorships. 

The foundations' power was in providing the outside capital 
for the reform of medical education and the profession itself. As 
the suppliers of that capital, they were able to dictate terms to the 
profession. In the earliest years, however, it was the profession 
that defined the goals and the strategy. The Carnegie Foundation 
had provided its resources to the leading medical professionals. 
The Flexner report united the interests of elite practitioners, 
scientific medical faculty, and the wealthy capitalist class. The 
report validated the elite professionals and enabled them to speak 
to philanthropists with a single voice, amplified by the Carnegie 

156 I Reforming Medical Education 

Foundation. Without the Carnegie report, the fears of "misdi- 
rected generosity," voiced by the AMA Journal in 1901,^^ might 
have been even more justified than they turned out to be. 


While Pritchett was parrying blows from critics and soaking 
up support from the medical profession reformers, Flexner was 
sent abroad by the foundation to study European medical 
schools. Back home in New York in the spring of 1911, while he 
was writing the report of his personal investigation, he was 
invited to lunch by Frederick T. Gates. 

As Flexner recalled the momentous meeting years later, 
Gates complimented him on Bulletin Number Four and asked 
him, "What would you do if you had a miUion dollars with which 
to make a start in reorganizing medical education in the United 

"Without a moment's hesitation" Flexner recommended 
giving it all to Welch and the Johns Hopkins medical school. 
Flexner could not have recommended anyone in medicine more 
dear to Gates' heart. Gates asked Flexner to obtain a leave for a 
few weeks from the Carnegie Foundation to go to Baltimore as an 
agent of the General Education Board and report back on his 
findings at Johns Hopkins. Flexner was delighted and went off to 
Baltimore assured that the million dollars was available. ^"^ 

In Baltimore Flexner went directly to Welch and explained 
that the GEB might add a million dollars to the Johns Hopkins 
medical school endowment and that he was there to study the 
situation and report back to Gates. Welch arranged a dinner that 
night at the Maryland Club and invited two of Hopkins' most 
illustrious medical faculty, Franklin P. Mall, an anatomist who in 
effect represented the medical science faculty, and William S. 
Halsted, a surgeon and de facto representative of the cHnical 

Mall spoke without hesitation: "If the school could get a sum 
of approximately $1 million, in my judgment there is only one 
thing that we ought to do with it — use every penny of its income 

Reforming Medical Education I 157 

for the purpose of placing upon a salary basis the heads and 
assistants in the leading clinical departments." That, Mall added, 
"is the great reform which needs now to be carried through."" 

Mall's suggestion was the focus of Flexner's report to Gates. 
Flexner recommended a grant of $1.5 million to reorganize the 
medical, surgical, obstetrical, and pediatric departments, placing 
the clinical faculty on a full-time basis. The "full-time plan" 
would require the clinical faculty, at that time earning roughly 
$20,000 to $35,000 a year from consultations, to become salaried 
employees of the medical school and to turn over all their 
consultation fees to the school. Incomes would thus drop to 
$10,000 for a department head, still a very high salary for the 
period, and $2,500 for his assistants. 

Flexner's report, in the same tradition of thoroughness as his 
Bulletin Number Four and Gates' own reports to Rockefeller 
nearly two decades earlier, greatly impressed Gates. The recom- 
mendation was informally adopted as policy, and, at Gates' 
request, Flexner returned to Baltimore and personally explained 
it to Welch and gave him an informal and confidential assurance 
that a Hopkins application for $1.5 million to institute the 
reforms would be approved by the GEB. It would be up to Welch 
to convince his faculty and the university trustees to make the 
reform, for it was to be the only basis of the GEB's grant. "No 
pressure was used," Flexner recalled, "no inducement was held 
out." Just $1.5 million. ^^ 

When Flexner brought the proposal to the GEB, the full-time 
plan already had a powerful advocate within the board. Three 
years earlier Gates had been instrumental in establishing the 
strict full-time provision for physician-researchers at the Rocke- 
feller Institute's new hospital.^'' With a view to the needs of 
maintaining and further developing capitalist society. Gates 
believed the full-time plan would encourage the application of 
science to medicine and reduce the independence of the medical 

Gates, a director of industry, finance, and philanthropy, 
believed, as did other men in his position, in the usefulness of 
science and technology. Science could discover the causes of 
diseases, and technology could develop the means to prevent or 
cure disease. But medical science could neither relieve the misery 
of the world nor make the work force healthier if people could 

158 I Reforming Medical Education 

not afford its services. Likewise, the cultural and legitimizing 
functions of medicine could not be performed if medical services 
were priced out of the reach of the working population. The 
financial independence of the medical profession was an obstacle 
to bringing the benefits of science to the people. "This practice of 
fixing his own price granted to American physicians by custom," 
Gates wrote to the other GEB trustees, "is the greatest present 
American obstruction to the usefulness of the science of medi- 
cine. For it confines the benefits of the science too largely to the 
rich, when it is the rightful inheritance of all the people aUke, and 
the public health requires they have it."^* 

Commercialism was fine in the economic sectors that should 
be reserved for profit making, but in medicine it violated the 
needs of capitahst society. The full-time plan was adopted by the 
GEB as its central policy in medical education to help bring the 
medical profession to heel and subordinate its practices to the 
needs of industrial capitalism for fully accessible medical care, or, 
as board member Jerome D. Greene put it, to abate "commer- 
ciaHsm in the medical profession. "^^ If the elite, standard-setting 
medical schools supported by the GEB adopted the fixed-price 
schedule for medical services. Gates argued, "public sentiment, 
in no time, will enforce those schedules, if reasonable, not only 
throughout their cities but other cities and finally the country at 
large. "'« 

The full-time plan played a central role in foundation funding 
of medical education for the following important decade of 
development. The new arrangement altered the relationship of 
the medical profession to university medical schools. And it 
caused deep divisions between the reform-minded elite practi- 
tioners in the medical societies and the Rockefeller philanthro- 


As Flexner himself has pointed out, the full-time plan for 
clinical faculty was suggested to him by Mall, though it had first 
been advocated publicly in 1902 by Lewellys F. Barker, a former 
colleague of Mall's at Baltimore and then a professor of anatomy 
at Chicago.''^ The earlier origins of the idea can be traced to more 
obscure beginnings in German medical laboratories, but its 
introduction to the United States is of interest here. 

Reforming Medical Education I 159 

The full-time plan was first instituted in the United States in 
1893 when the Johns Hopkins medical school opened its doors. 
Because of the new school's emphasis on research and the 
widespread experience that local practitioners do little research in 
the laboratory sciences, the university provided full-time faculty 
positions in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. 
The models for the Hopkins reform were the German medical 
laboratories and universities where Welch and the other Hopkins 
medical faculty got their scientific training. For some of the new 
faculty who had previously spHt their time between private 
practice and teaching laboratory sciences, the Hopkins plan 
meant giving up an income of $10,000 a year or more, in return 
for a salary of $3,000 or $4,000. But the bright young men who 
were actively recruited were, like Welch and Mall, struggling to 
survive without private practice. ^^ For these men, medicine was 
science and laboratories, not patients and housecalls. 

Welch himself had never wanted to be a physician. After 
graduation from Yale, he wanted to be a tutor in Greek, but the 
prospect of unemployment thwarted his ambition and drove him 
to follow his father into medicine. His interest in medicine soon 
bloomed though not with visions of a bedside practice. Welch was 
"fired in the dissecting and autopsy rooms with the desire to 
become a professor of pathological anatomy," wrote Simon 
Flexner, "to study and examine for the rest of his life without 
having to make his living as a practitioner." The development of 
scientific medicine in the United States opened to Welch the 
possibility of a new kind of medical career, and he ambitiously set 
about building a future for himself in the medical sciences. 
Returning from his postgraduate medical studies in Europe, 
Welch, with a little financial help from his friends, founded the 
first pathology laboratory in the United States at Bellevue 
Hospital medical school in New York. From there he was invited 
to Johns Hopkins by president Gilman as one of the first full-time 
faculty in the laboratory medical sciences and was soon made 
dean of the distinguished medical school. Welch devoted his life 
to building the first medical center "empire," seeking favor with 
philanthropists, initiating reforms in medical education and 
research, and planning and organizing new programs and institu- 

Franklin Paine Mall, after receiving his medical degree from 
the University of Michigan in 1883, went to Germany for 

160 I Reforming Medical Education 

additional clinical training and came back a dedicated medical 
scientist. In Ludwig's and other laboratories Mall learned to love 
science and to appreciate the freedom to study what interested 
him. In his anatomy laboratory at Johns Hopkins, Mall was an 
efficient and organized administrator. He knew the investments 
of all the major universities and foundations and was good at 
bringing research grants to his laboratory. Mall put great value on 
original research as part of the training of physicians. If disserta- 
tions were required for the M.D. degree, he urged hopefully, "it 
would stimulate scientific work in the medical schools, would 
tend to reduce the number of graduates, and would improve the 
quahty of the physician."''^ 

It was Ludwig in Germany who put the bug about full-time 
clinical teaching into Mall's ear. Mall brought it back to Balti- 
more and Chicago and spread the idea among Barker and other 
colleagues. Mall saw the struggle over the full-time plan as a 
contest between the clinical faculty and practicing physicians, on 
the one hand, and the laboratory science faculty, on the other. 
Reform practitioners had demanded full-time laboratory faculty 
for the first two years of basic science in medical school, and now 
"it falls to us to demand of the last two years of medicine what 
they demanded of the first two." With a sense of victory 
occasioned by the GEB's proposal to Hopkins, Mall added that 
"the day of reckoning is at hand." The lesser salaries of full-time 
faculty should not deter brilliant men and women from entering 
the field. As Mall liked to put the issue, a physician must choose 
"which 'G' to worship — Gold or Glory." 

Other laboratory science faculty had similar motivations. 
Many were undoubtedly drawn to the medical sciences partly by 
the field's growing prestige, partly by their interest in the 
single-minded pursuit possible in a laboratory, and partly for 
escape from hustling patients and dealing with the mundane 
business of medical practice. 

To the laboratory scientists, limiting clinicians to their salaries 
would accomplish several things at once. First, they believed that 
medicine should be fundamentally a science devoted to finding 
the bio-physical causes of disease and less an art of bedside 
diagnosis and hopeful therapies. Second, since the medical 
sciences prospered most with faculty devoting themselves entirely 
to research and teaching, it followed in their thinking that clinical 

Reforming Medical Education I 161 

instruction would also benefit from the clinical faculty's singular 
devotion to research and teaching. Third, since the medical 
school competed with the clinicians' private practice for their 
time and energy, eliminating private practice would unify and 
rationalize the organization of the medical school. CHnicians 
would no longer be responsible to an outside practice. Finally, 
eliminating clinicians' private practices would unify the material 
interests of all the faculty in the medical school. Clinical faculty, 
leaving behind large and fashionable private practices, would 
derive their incomes and reputations from the same source as the 
laboratory faculty. From at least the days of Benjamin Rush, 
practitioners had used their faculty positions in medical schools to 
build large, prestigious, and very lucrative private practices. The 
proposed full-time plan would reduce such practices, making the 
main clinical faculty captives of the medical school, with loyalties 
no longer divided between personally lucrative consultations and 
the needs of the school for research and teaching. 

Some practitioners as well as academic doctors were mindful 
of the need for faculty who would commit themselves mainly to 
teaching. As early as 1900, the AMA Journal argued that clinical 
departments should be headed by physicians "who are properly 
paid and of whom more may be demanded than of those who 
regard their clinical services merely as a means of rapidly 
acquiring a large private clientele. "^^ 

But as news of the Hopkins plan spread, the outrage among 
private practitioners grew. The AMA appointed a special com- 
mittee on the reorganization of clinical teaching. Its chairman, 
Victor Vaughan of Michigan, tried to steer a middle course, 
rejecting extreme involvement in private practice by clinical 
faculty while expressing the committee's considerable skepticism 
of the full-time plan. Vaughan concluded that even if the plan 
were ideal, it would not be feasible for any but a few medical 
schools that were well endowed. ^^ 

Many clinical faculty charged that full-time medical school 
faculty, based in laboratories and wards, made "poor practition- 
ers" because they were more concerned with research than with 
patients as suffering human beings. They claimed that without a 
private practice a physician would lose touch with the real 
practice of medicine and be a poor example for medical students. 
WiUiam Osier, the renowned professor of medicine at Hopkins 

162 I Reforming Medical Education 

who had introduced a number of reforms in clinical teaching, had 
always been an advocate of "medicine as art" as well as science. 
He frequently argued with Mall, who conceived of medicine as 
simply a research science. When Osier left Hopkins for Oxford in 
1904, he bitterly conceded to Mall, "Now I go, and you have your 
way."''^ The initiation of the full-time plan at Hopkins must not 
have surprised him, and he wrote from England his severe 
criticisms of the proposed change. Similarly, the highly regarded 
Society of Chnical Surgery, including such celebrated surgeons as 
Charles Mayo and George W. Crile, registered their opposition 
to the plan. Other general and specialty societies joined the 

Practitioner attacks on the full-time plan exposed their 
ideological, material, and political differences with academic 
physicians, particularly the laboratory scientists. Although the 
practitioners' and academics' common interest in promoting 
scientific medicine had united them at the end of the nineteenth 
century, differences quickly developed as to just what that meant. 
Academics differed with practitioners over the relative weight of 
science and art in medicine, the financial interests of practi- 
tioner-clinicians, and who should control medicine. 

Medical scientists and their foundation alHes believed that 
medicine was at its best as an exact science, isolating variables in 
the laboratory and finding a cure under very precise laboratory 
conditions. Practitioners, in the business of selling cures to 
patients, seldom saw the relevance of laboratory controls to 
treating individuals in the real world. With all their deficiencies, 
the proprietary schools had, in the words of Rosemary Stevens, 
"at least been firmly attuned to the average practitioner."^^ The 
medical ideology implicit in the full-time plan was now driving 
practitioners and academics apart. 

Whether the practitioners were driven more by their commit- 
ment to practice or by consideration for their bank accounts is, of 
course, a moot question. The issues were so intertwined that it 
was never clear whether the argument that medicine is an art was 
simply a ruse to hide pecuniary motives. Clinicians fiercely 
defended their material interests against the infringements of the 
full-time plan. Arthur Dean Bevan denounced the plan as 
"unethical and illegal" because it deprived clinical faculty of their 

Finally, the full-time plan exposed a poHtical conflict that 

Reforming Medical Education I 163 

grew out of the different material conditions of practitioners and 
academics. The AM A sought to control medical education as a 
vehicle for controlling entry into the profession and thereby 
medical care itself. The scientific medical school faculty, on the 
other hand, thought that they should control medical care. 
Medical scientists, remarked a prominent British physiologist in 
1914, ought to "remodel the whole system so as to fight disease at 
its source. . . . Surely it is a time when those who have laid the 
scientific foundations for the new advances should take counsel 
together, assume some generalship, and show how the combat is 
to be waged. "^' The Rockefeller philanthropists clearly sided 
with the medical scientists and cast their weighty fortune with the 
armies of academe. 

Behind the passion of the AMA's attacks were the realiza- 
tions that the position of medical faculty would no longer be a 
lucrative supplement for private practitioners and that the 
full-time clinical faculties' main loyalties would be to medical 
schools and not the organized profession. Elite practitioners 
would now have to choose either a grand income or a respected 
teaching and research position. But even more important to the 
strategy for controlhng medical education, the full-time plan, by 
reducing the clinician's income and monopolizing his loyalties 
and material interests in the medical school, would cut the clinical 
faculty off from private practitioners. Instead of linking together 
the interests of the ehte practitioners with those of the medical 
schools, full-time clinical faculty would help separate the medical 
schools from the organized private practice profession. The 
full-time plan would reduce the power of the organized profes- 
sion, in particular, the AMA and its Council on Medical Edu- 
cation, within the medical schools. 

Of course, things were different in the 1910s from the way 
they had been at the turn of the century. The profession's reform 
strategy had accomplished much of what it set out to do: It had 
established scientific medicine as the ascending model of medical 
practice and education; it had reduced the number of schools 
considerably and thereby the output of new physicians; and it had 
secured supportive legislation and licensing laws. But the plan 
had just begun to work, physicians' incomes and prestige were 
rising, and the end was not in sight. Medical schools were still 
considered key to the strategy and to continued control by the 
organized profession of its own material conditions. And the 

164 I Reforming Medical Education 

AMA leadership was not about to let that control slip from its 
grasp. The profession launched a campaign to discredit and 
oppose the full-time plan. 


Welch, an astute medical politician, anticipated the furor the 
plan would provoke. Four years before Mall suggested the idea to 
Flexner, Welch had called for reforms that would allow clinical 
department heads to "devote their main energies and time" to 
teaching and research, "without the necessity of seeking their 
livelihoods in a busy outside practice and without allowing such 
practice to become their c/z/^/ professional occupation. "^^ 

When the GEB proposed to fund full-time organization of 
Hopkins' clinical departments, Welch faced the dilemma of medi- 
ating the interests of the laboratory science faculty with those 
of the clinicians. Welch asked the GEB to allow some excep- 
tions to the full-time rule, enabling the university president or 
"some other responsible authority" to permit some full-time, 
salaried professors to keep their consulting fees.*^ The board 
adamantly refused to allow any exceptions. 

The laboratory faculty unanimously endorsed the plan, but, 
Flexner later recalled, "there was a rift among the clinicians. "^"^ 
Within two years Welch won sufficient support from the clinical 
faculty. Lewellys Barker, the Hopkins professor of medicine who 
had publicly advocated the full-time plan in 1902, stood in the 
way of its implementation at Johns Hopkins. He chose "gold" 
over "glory" and resigned his professorship, agreeing to become 
a "clinical professor," drawing a small salary from the medical 
school but being able to devote most of his time to a lucrative 
private practice. In his place, Theodore Janeway gave up his chair 
at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and an elite practice in 
New York to become the first full-time professor of medicine in 
the United States. William Halsted was named professor of 
surgery and Charles Howland, professor of pediatrics. In October 
1913 Welch formally applied for the grant, accepting the condi- 
tion that the full-time clinical faculty at all ranks — assistant 
professor to professor — would "derive no pecuniary benefit" 
from any professional services they rendered. The board immedi- 
ately voted its approval and a grant of $1.5 million. ^^ 

Reforming Medical Education I 165 

Three months later the GEB decided to devote all its funds in 
medical education to "the installation of full-time clinical teach- 
ing." Flexner had been hired by the board to administer their 
program in medical education, and he applied himself with his 
usual energy/^ 

Within a year Welch reported that "the full-time system is a 
great success" at Hopkins.^'' Halsted and Rowland found the 
system to their liking, but Janeway resigned his position in 1917 
to return to private practice in New York. He was dissatisfied 
with the full-time arrangements, he wrote in a widely publicized 
journal article, both because "outside engagements" had been a 
major source of clinical knowledge to him and because he and his 
family were used to a higher standard of living than he could 
afford on his salary. It was "unnatural and repugnant to the 
patient's sense of justice," he said with great sympathy for his 
patients, "that a consulting physician should not receive the usual 
fee for such service."*^ 

In 1919 even Osier backed off from his opposition. He asked 
Welch to use his influence to persuade the GEB to "help McGill 
start up-to-date clinics in medicine and surgery." Osier made it 
clear that he did not favor the full-time scheme, but he believed it 
was now necessary at the Canadian school because "new condi- 
tions have arisen" which would leave McGill behind the other 
first-class schools that had instituted full-time teaching in medi- 
cine and surgery.*^ 

Over the next few years the board voted more than $8 milhon 
from its general funds for similar reorganizations on a full-time 
basis of the medical schools at Washington University at St. 
Louis, Yale, and the University of Chicago. With the matching 
grant policy, these funds represented several millions more in 
support for the reforms. Between 1919 and 1921 Rockefeller, Sr., 
contributed $45 million to the General Education Board specifi- 
cally for medical education. 

The first appropriation from this special fund was a grant of $4 
million to Vanderbilt University to make the Nashville medical 
school a model for the South. The GEB considered Nashville its 
"strategic point" in the South and Vanderbilt the institution that 
would lead the drive to improve Southern "public health and 
industrial and agricultural efficiency. "^° By 1960 Vanderbilt, the 
board's major white university in the South, received a total of 
$17.5 million from the GEB for medical education. Meharry 

166 I Reforming Medical Education 

Medical College, the board's model black medical school and one 
of only two that Flexner had argued should survive, received less 
than half the sum given to the white institution.^' Despite its 
relative stinginess toward black medical education, the board 
firmly believed that scientifically trained black doctors were 
necessary to improve the health of blacks, protect the health of 
neighboring whites, and provide an elite and "responsible" 
leadership for the black population. Through its annual grants to 
Meharry, it exerted substantial control and even instituted 
full-time teaching in medicine and surgery in the 1930s, with 
approved white faculty members in charge and a hand-picked 
white president. ^^ 

The board used its $45 million to foster, if not force, 
acceptance of the full-time plan at the major medical schools in 
the country. But not all the schools were won over as easily as 


Harvard staunchly refused to accept the full-time plan. In 
1913, while negotiating the details of the Hopkins grant with 
Welch, the GEB invited the Harvard medical school to apply for 
a grant to place their cHnical departments on a full-time basis. 
The debt-ridden medical school sought a windfall through sub- 
terfuge. The faculty asked for $1.5 milHon to reorganize all its 
cHnical departments "on a satisfactory university basis." The clin- 
ical professors would "devote the major part of their time to 
school and hospital work," but they could still collect fees from 
their private patients whom they would see in offices provided by 
the teaching hospital. This proposal was hardly consistent with 
the GEB's by then well-known interpretation of full time.'^ 

The opposition to the GEB's strict full-time policy was led by 
two powerful members of the Harvard clinical faculty, Harvey 
Gushing, a renowned neurosurgeon and chief-of-surgery at Peter 
Bent Brigham Hospital (a Harvard teaching hospital), and Henry 
A. Christian, former dean of the medical school. Gushing and 
Christian, like other members of Harvard's clinical faculty, had 
lucrative private practices, which they refused to give up. They 
felt it was enough for the clinical faculty to devote themselves to 
working in the teaching hospital and "to confine their profession- 

Reforming Medical Education I 167 

al activities within its walls." In return, they wanted to accept fees 
from "patients who might consult us during hours as we felt 
justified in setting aside for this purpose." Committed though he 
was to academic medicine, Gushing even offered his resignation 
to Harvard president Lowell. But, as Gushing undoubtedly knew, 
Lowell considered the famous surgeon more important to 
Harvard's academic reputation than the $1.5 million endow- 

Gates and Flexner continued to press for strict full-time 
commitments, turning down Harvard's proposals during several 
years of negotiations. In addition to their ideological commitment 
to full time, the GEB members had a pragmatic incentive for 
pushing it as quickly and widely as possible. Harvard and other 
schools that allowed their medical faculty to keep their consulting 
fees were raiding the faculties of schools that adhered to the 
GEB's policy. In 1921 David Edsall, dean of the Harvard medical 
school, tried to lure Gharles Howland, the Johns Hopkins 
pediatrician, with the same salary he was getting at Hopkins /?/i/5 
consulting fees from private practice. Flexner had to help 
Hopkins upgrade their facilities as an inducement to keep 
Howland there. ^^ 

Harvard was able to resist the full-time plan because of its 
reputation as a leading scientific medical school and because its 
clinical faculty were too prominent in Boston's ruling social 
circles to be easily dismissed. Already by 1900 the Harvard 
medical faculty boasted that it controlled "probably more clinical 
material than any other one school in the country. "^^ Such 
powerful medical figures were also physicians to the Boston 
upper class, and by virtue of their earnings, and many their 
births, they were themselves members of that very class-con- 
scious city's upper crust. It took such Brahmins to refuse to 
surrender their consulting fees in the face of the GEB's compel- 
Hng offer, particularly when the school's accounts were heavily in 
the red. 


Meanwhile, Gharles Eliot, the illustrious former president of 
Harvard and a trustee of the GEB, carried the battle into the 
GEB's board room. Eliot argued that "great improvements in 

168 I Reforming Medical Education 

medical treatment have in recent years proceeded from men who 
were in private practice. "^^ EHot went on to argue not merely for 
Harvard's latest proposal but for a complete reversal of the 
full-time policy and the binding contracts imposed by the GEB on 
universities accepting its beneficence. How could the insistence of 
the GEB on full time be reconciled with the board's theoretical 
hands-off policy, he asked rhetorically. Eliot reminded the board 
that it had pledged itself not to interfere with the running of a 
recipient institution, "except as regards its prudential financial 
management." Yet the board was making its strict interpretation 
of full-time clinical organization the condition of a grant. "This 
condition does not seem to me consistent with what I have always 
believed the wise and generally acceptable policy of the board," 
Eliot diplomatically concluded. ^^ 

Eliot's arguments fell on receptive ears. The Rockefeller 
philanthropies were under fire from a range of groups, individu- 
als, and newspapers spanning a considerable portion of the 
contemporary political spectrum. Ida Tarbell provided fuel for 
roasting John D. Rockefeller and his financial empire with her 
"History of the Standard Oil Company," published from 1902 
to 1904 in McClure's Magazine. In the latter year, Theodore 
Roosevelt was elected President on a platform of vacuous 
promises to bring the trusts to heel. Encouraged by growing 
popular resentment against the "robber barons" and wishing to 
channel that resentment through stable political institutions, the 
Progressive movement won support from the courts as well as the 
Congress for small reforms and slaps on the wrists of the largest 
trusts. In 1907 federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis struck 
Standard Oil of Indiana with an unprecedented $29 million fine 
for receiving rebates from the Chicago and Alton Railroad. 
Making its way through the courts was an unprecedented 
anti-trust suit. On May 15, 1911, the Supreme Court ordered the 
Standard Oil Trust, then controlling nearly 90 percent of oil 
refining and sales in the United States, broken up. Neither action 
slew the Standard Oil empire nor diminished the fortune of John 
D. Rockefeller and his family. But as part of a growing public 
attack on Rockefeller and on unrestricted capital accumulation, 
these attacks were taken seriously by the Rockefellers and their 
industrial, financial, and philanthropic organizations. 

Hoping to calm the troubled waters of popular hostihty and to 

Reforming Medical Education I 169 

fuel his engine of social transformation, the Standard Oil 
billionaire attempted to get a congressional charter for the new 
Rockefeller Foundation. The proposed charter sparked a verita- 
ble firestorm of protest from working-class and Progressive 
leaders and newspapers. The Los Angeles Record denounced the 
"gigantic philanthropy by which old Rockefeller expects to 
squeeze himself, his son, his stall-fed collegians and their camels, 
laden with tainted money, through 'the eye of the needle.' " 
Expressing a widespread suspicion of philanthropy, the paper 
argued that the "monopoly-ridden masses don't want charity 
under any guise, but justice." The charter bill foundered in 
Congress for three years and in the end failed to sweep aside the 
articulated public anger. ^^ 

The Rockefeller organization found a more receptive mood in 
Albany and was granted an unrestricted charter by the New York 
legislature in 1913. But even in New York, anti-Rockefeller 
Progressive sentiments continued to haunt both the man and his 
corporate philanthropies. In 1917 State Senator John Boylan 
introduced a bill to repeal the foundation's charter. Although this 
attack also failed to stop the Rockefeller philanthropy, it added 
flack to the assault. What most upset the Rockefeller group about 
this campaign were the testimony and speeches in support of the 
bill from Bird S. Coler, a respected Wall Street stockbroker 
cum-Progressive . ^ °" 

Meanwhile, more specific attacks were being leveled against 
the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundation programs. The National 
Education Association (NEA), meeting in St. Paul in 1914, 
condemned the foundations' education programs for introducing 
undemocratic controls into the schools. Working-class and Pro- 
gressive newspapers supported the NEA resolution. The radical 
organs understood the capitalist class character of the foundation 
programs in education. The Pittsburgh, Penn., Leader considered 
the foundation programs so effective "that it is difficult for 
genuine teachers to make any headway against the class concepts 
that hold their heads so high in school and college. "*°^ 

The most thoroughgoing indictment, however, followed the 
"Ludlow Massacre" at the Rockefeller-controlled Colorado Fuel 
and Iron Company. When workers at the mining operation went 
on strike in 1914 for union recognition, an eight-hour day, and 
emancipation from the choking economic, political, and social 

170 I Reforming Medical Education 

control of the company over the Ludlow miners and their 
families, the company brought in armed guards. On April 20 the 
company's private army together with the state militia shot to 
death six workers and burned the tents in which the strikers' 
families were forced to live, cremating two women and eleven 
children inside them. The Ludlow Massacre shocked an already 
aroused public and focused anger against the Rockefellers. Labor 
unions, anarchists, socialists, and radicals organized demonstra- 
tions and demanded broad reforms to protect labor. Progressives 
joined the cry for action, and even conservative newspapers 
criticized the mining company. 

Congress created, and President Wilson appointed, the Com- 
mission on Industrial Relations to investigate the Ludlow affair, 
relations between capital and labor, and the role of philan- 
thropic foundations in general. The commission, headed by Frank 
Walsh, exposed much of capital's relations with the working 
class to examination and criticism and pointed to the impor- 
tant role of foundations in building a superstructure to extend 
capital's control throughout society. The Walsh Commission 
subpoenaed the senior and junior Rockefellers, Charles W. 
Eliot, and Jerome D. Greene to testify about the activities of the 
Rockefeller Foundation. The commission's final report noted 
that the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations' policies are 
"colored, if not controlled, to conform to the policies" of the 
country's major corporations, which are themselves controlled by 
a "small number of wealthy and powerful financiers. "^°^ 

The attacks on Standard Oil and on unrestricted capital ac- 
cumulation, the hostility to foundations and the Rockefeller 
programs in particular, and the increased support for radical and 
socialist working-class movements greatly impressed the rrien of 
the Rockefeller philanthropies. Eugene Debs, a revolutionary 
socialist, rolled up nearly one million votes for President in 1912. 
In the Rockefeller offices and board rooms at 61 Broadway, the 
din outside must have sounded at times like the trumpets of 

General Education Board member George Foster Peabody, a 
New York banker, feared the rising tide would force the gov- 
ernment to assume all support of educational institutions 
(robbing the foundations of their power and influence) and would 
also lead to "economic legislation which shall preclude the 

Reforming Medical Education I 171 

acquisition of surplus wealth" (the end of capitalism itself). 
Peabody preached caution in the face of such challenges. '^^ 

Charles Eliot feared the outcome of class conflicts, but he 
believed the best defense were the programs the foundation had 
already undertaken: 

We need not imagine that the process of accumulating great 
fortunes ... is going to continue through the coming generations. 
. . . The evils which I look forward to with dread in the coming 
years of the Republic are injustice inflicted on those who have by 
those who have not, and corruption and extravagance in the 
expenditure of money raised by taxation. Against such evils I know 
no defense except universal education including the constant 
inculcation of justice and goodwill. ^°'* 

Gates himself feared possible "confiscation" of wealth, but he 
had faith in the strength of capitalism to survive. "The recogni- 
tion of the right to earn and hold surplus wealth marks the dawn 
of civilization," he noted to himself in 1911.^°^ 

Gates favored standing fast on the principle of private control 
of wealth and opposed any special defensive strategies. When 
Rockefeller Foundation president George Vincent drafted the 
annual report for 1917, Gates suggested removing a new self- 
limiting policy statement. Among other points, the new pohcy 
precluded the foundation from "supporting propaganda which 
seek to influence public opinion about the social order and 
political proposals." Vincent defended the statement on the 
ground that "the one thing that the opponents of foundations 
seem most to resent is that attempt to control public opinion. "^''^ 
It was hoped that the formal statement denying the charges would 
be accepted by the public as a verdict of innocence. 


Board members feared that the full-time contracts would be 
seen by the public as another example of private capitalist control 
of essentially public institutions. Visions of more public attacks 
and restrictive legislation undermined support for the full-time 
policy within the board. Anson Phelps Stokes, who succeeded 
Peabody on the board as the voice of caution, counseled against 
imposing the full-time policy through contracts. "It is not a 
question of whether we are right or wrong in our opinions," he 

172 I Reforming Medical Education 

explained. The full-time plan itself was not an issue. In fact, he 
thought it was a commendable program. 

But it is a question of whether or not we can . . . afford — in view of 
public opinion and our great wealth as a board — to be imposing, or 
at least requiring, detailed conditions regarding educational policy 
in medicine in elaborate contracts which can only be amended with 
our consent. . . . Personally, I think this policy unwise and fraught 
with serious dangers.'^ 


The "elaborate contracts" were a policy brought by Gates 
from the American Baptist Education Society to the Rockefeller 
business dealings and philanthropies. Applied by the GEB to 
their grants to medical schools, contracts with the recipient 
universities uniformly included a clause specifying that if the 
full-time plan "shall, without the consent of the said General 
Education board, be abandoned, substantially modified or de- 
parted from, the said university will, upon demand of said 
board, return said securities or any securities representing their 
reinvestment. "^°* 

Stokes' fear that the contracts would become public knowl- 
edge was prophetic. While Eliot, Lowell, and the medical faculty 
at Harvard could be counted on to keep a gentlemanly silence 
about their conflict with the GEB, the more volatile president of 
Columbia, Nicholas Murray Butler, was not adverse to spiUing 
the beans. Under Flexner's hard-nosed leadership, the GEB 
offered Columbia a substantial grant but only if the university 
took more decisive control of the medical school, booted out the 
reigning dean and clinical faculty while instituting the full-time 
policy, reduced the student enrollment in the medical school, and 
took more complete control of Presbyterian Hospital as a 
teaching facility. '°^ 

After lengthy negotiations between Butler, Flexner, and 
representatives of the Presbyterian Hospital trustees, Butler 
rejected the proposals as "so reactionary and so antagonistic to 
the best interests of the public, of medical education and of 
Columbia University, that they will not, under any circumstanc- 
es, be approved by us."^''' 

The Presbyterian Hospital trustees, led by philanthropists 
Edward S. Harkness, W. Sloan, and H. W. deForest, had favored 
creating a new medical center and had supported all the con- 
ditions the GEB was demanding. In 1911 Harkness had given 

Reforming Medical Education I 173 

Presbyterian Hospital $1.3 million to encourage them to tighten 
their bonds with Columbia, giving the medical school exclusive 
teaching privileges in the hospital and control over Presbyterian's 
medical staff/" Angered at Butler's rejection of the proposals 
and his support for the existing practitioner faculty, the hospital 
trustees voted to sever all ties with the Columbia medical 

Negotiations continued, with Henry Pritchett and the Carne- 
gie Foundation entering the fray in 1919. The Carnegie Founda- 
tion joined with the GEB and the Rockefeller Foundation to 
offer $1 million each toward building a new medical center for 
Columbia and endowing its faculty. Yet the GEB held out for 
complete fulfillment of their policy on full time."^ 

Pritchett could see no reason for such obstinacy. "It is quite 
true," he told Flexner, "that certain of the professors are allowed 
to take a small consulting practice. . . . That is not 100 percent 
fulfillment, but I should say that it was comparable to the claims 
of Ivory Soap to be 99.44 percent pure."""* 

Pritchett was not only uncommitted to complete subordina- 
tion of the medical faculty through a strict full-time policy. He 
also, and perhaps more viscerally, feared attacks on the founda- 
tions and the recipient universities. "Such a contract binding a 
university to a fixed policy laid down by the giver of money seems 
to me a dangerous thing," he complained to Wallace Buttrick, 
president of the GEB. "If these contracts were made public, I am 
sure it would bring down on all educational foundations no less 
than on the universities themselves severe criticism. It seems to 
me a dangerous poHcy for those who administer trust funds to 
adopt. ""^ 

The standard response of the GEB officers to such criticisms 
of their full-time plan contracts was that "the policy was proposed 
to us by the trustees and medical faculty of the university and that 
the terms of the contract were such as they themselves asked 
for.""^ According to this fiction, it was Welch who proposed the 
full-time plan to the GEB. "We have never asked any institution 
to adopt the plan," Buttrick claimed. "The Hopkins proposal in 
all particulars came from Doctor Welch.""'' This self-serving 
posture was supported by carefully worded statements in letters, 
personal contacts, and even the contracts themselves. Flexner 
and others orally and confidentially made known the board's 
requirements, and they were always careful that any written 

174 I Reforming Medical Education 

proposals came from the institution. The painstaking, almost 
nit-picking negotiations with the Columbia medical school facul- 
ty, Columbia's president Butler, and trustees of the university 
belie the GEB's claims that it had "no fixed policy regarding 
medical education" and that they never attempted to influence 
the internal policies of universities.^'* 

After continued resistance by Harvard and Columbia, public 
disclosure of the binding contracts, public criticism by the medical 
profession, and a long history of attacks on corporate philanthro- 
py, the board in 1925 altered its contracts and thus its full-time 
policy. Eliot had continued his attacks within the board meetings 
right up to the time of his resignation in 1917, charging the GEE 
with interfering in the internal affairs of Harvard by demanding 
full-time organization as the price of an endowment grant. Board 
member Anson Phelps Stokes carried on the fight to do away with 
binding contracts and the GEB's narrow definition of full time."^ 

WINDOW dressing: gates defeated 

Although the public clamor for aboHtion of foundations, or at 
least for their severe restriction, had abated with the demise of 
Progressivism, the entry of the United States in the Great War, 
and the repression of radical and socialist movements following 
the war, a majority of the GEB's trustees feared a resurgence of 
such attacks. "Some day the power of the 'dead hand' will again 
be the subject of poHtical, if not popular, discussion," warned 
Thomas Debevoise, legal counsel to the board. '^° 

Debevoise prepared the arguments to support the majority of 
the trustees in their fight with Flexner and Gates. First, it was 
important for the board not to appear to control recipient 
institutions. "It will hurt the reputation of the board if it attempts 
to direct the operation of the objects of its bounty," Debevoise 
argued. Second, binding contracts were unnecessary to keep the 
universities in line. "Most of the schools which receive money 
from the board come back at least a second time, and the 
possibiHty of their needing additional help should lend all the 
inducement necessary to make them follow the ideas of the 

On February 26, 1925, the board voted, with Gates adamantly 
dissenting, to authorize a contract with the University of Chicago 
that required full-time clinical faculty to receive no fees for 

Reforming Medical Education I 175 

patients seen in the university's teaching hospitals but allowed 
them to "continue to engage in the private practice of their 
professions outside of the university's hospitals." The contract 
also allowed the university's board of trustees to make ''such 
modifications and changes by the university in future years as 
educational and scientific experience may . . . justify. "'^^ 

The final defeat for Gates and Flexner came later that year. 
At the end of September the executive committee of the GEB 
voted to modify the original contracts with Johns Hopkins, 
Vanderbilt, Washington (at St. Louis), and Yale universities to 
allow the boards of trustees to compromise the full-time provision 
(if they desired). Gates specifically asked to have his negative 
vote recorded.'" Gates took his defeat at age seventy-two as a 
personal attack and a political blunder. Actually, the policy 
change was a minor one, a question of tactics rather than of 

The full-time plan was an entering wedge, the first thrust of a 
continuing struggle by corporate philanthropy to control medical 
education and medical care — to establish the principle that 
society's needs, as defined by the corporate class, would prevail 
over the medical profession's interests. It was the first attempt on 
a large scale to rationalize medical care in the United States. 
Gates saw clearly the potential value of academic medicine — 
doctors subordinated to the university, the university controlled 
by men and women of wealth, and academic physicians research- 
ing the causes of disease and eliminating those causes at their 
microbiological source. All these relationships and functions 
would assure that academic doctors, unHke their practitioner 
colleagues, would serve the needs set before them and not some 
competing professional interest. 

But in 1925 Gates was a strategist from another era. Although 
a loyal manager himself, he was a product of early corporate 
capitalism's rugged individualism, who never adapted to corpo- 
rate liberalism's trust in the State and other bureaucratic organi- 
zations run by professionals and managers. He did not realize 
how fully academic medicine was already the instrument of 
foundation and capitalist interests. 

Dependent on outside funding for its capital and operating 
expenses, medical education could be guided by whoever footed 
the bill. The GEB and Rockefeller Foundation efforts to insti- 

77^ / Reforming Medical Education 

tutionalize full-time clinical departments had their efiect, even 
with the resistance and the final defeat of binding contracts. Of 
the $13 million in medical school operating expenses in 1926, the 
largest chunk — 42 percent — went to salaries of full-time fac- 
ulty. The Commission on Medical Education reported that in 
the twelve years since the GEB launched its program with Johns 
Hopkins, the largest single increase in budgets was "for salaries 
and other expenses in the clinical divisions, particularly in those 
schools which have placed the clinical departments on a universi- 
ty basis. "^'^ 

Medical colleges were caught in a bind. Dependent on student 
fees, they had always been responsive to student demands. By the 
turn of the century, state licensing boards were requiring at least 
the rudiments of a scientific medical education. In 1907 the 
secretary of the Association of American Medical Colleges was 
able to report that students no longer sought merely the cheapest 
route to a medical degree. Guided by the demands of state 
boards, they wanted scientific medical education "and they are 
willing to pay for it." Every medical college that kept step with 
"the better schools" found "that the step taken was a profitable 
one in every way."'" 

The catch was that it took more than student fees to make 
those changes. Although tuition fees increased to pay for the 
changes — in 1910, 81 percent of the medical schools charged less 
than $150 per year whereas in 1925, 85 percent charged more than 
that in fees — they could not increase beyond the willingness of 
the middle class to pay them. Nevertheless, by 1927 more than 
one-third of the annual income of medical schools still came from 
tuition fees. Income from endowments was, by the mid-1920s, the 
second largest source of income and meant the difference, for 
most medical colleges, between making it as a class A school or 
not making it at all.'^^ The influence of the General Education 
Board and the Rockefeller Foundation was profound. 


Between 1919 and 1921 Rockefeller, Jr., Flexner, and Gates 
persuaded the elder Rockefeller to give the General Education 
Board $45 million to be used for medical education. With the 

Reforming Medical Education I 177 

foundation's program of building up several elite private medical 
schools well underway, Flexner wanted to expand the program to 
the lesser but still "strategic" schools of the West and the South. 

In the East medical education is altogether in the hands of privately 
endowed institutions of learning. With the exception of some eight 
or ten schools, medical education in the West and South is in the 
hands of state universities. The board has found it practicable to 
cooperate with endowed institutions in developing their medical 
schools. It has had thus far no experience with state or municipal 
institutions in this field. It is evident, however, that if Mr. Rock- 
efeller's benefaction is to be made generally effective, cooperation 
with state and municipal universities is necessary.'" 

It was not long before Flexner brought a concrete proposal to 
the board to help the University of Iowa build a modern medical 
center across the river from its small and outmoded facility. The 
state legislature had dramatically increased its support of the 
medical school from less than $70,000 in 1912-13 to more than $1 
million in 1922-23. But generous though it was to the medical 
school, the legislature would not appropriate the whole $4.5 
million needed to build a new medical center. Assured of 
continuing support by the governor and the legislature, Flexner 
proposed that the Rockefeller philanthropies donate $2.5 milHon, 
with the state agreeing to raise the remainder from the taxes of 
the people of lowa.^^^ 

When Flexner brought the proposal before the board, Gates 
prepared an unusually long and passionate speech. The stormy 
meeting was held over two days at the Rockefeller funds' favorite 
retreat, Gedney Farms near Whhe Plains. Gates orated for the 
first half day, his white hair falling in disarray over his forehead, 
and his necktie twisted out of place by his forceful gestures. '^^ 

Gates attacked the proposed grant to Iowa because: (1) it was 
a state university, (2) it was therefore "controlled by the 
taxpayers," (3) "the taxpayer is not intelHgent on the needs and 
cost of first-class medical education," (4) no attempt was being 
made "to give Iowa the one supreme and simple thing Iowa 
needs — ^viz., illumination of the voter," (5) the indigenous Iowa 
leadership were incapable of carrying out their ideals of uplifting 
the medical school, and (6) the proposal was presented by 
Flexner, whom Gates had grown to despise as an upstart, one of 

178 I Reforming Medical Education 

the "bureaucratic officers, usurping the power of the board. "'^° 

Flexner followed Gates and presented his arguments in favor 
of supporting Iowa's medical school "in the mildest manner that I 
could possibly assume." He defended the plan as being practica- 
ble and necessary. "We are trying to aid in the development of a 
country-wide, high grade system of education in the United 
States. If we confine our cooperation to endowed institutions, 
we can practically operate only in the East." Flexner's brief, 
low-keyed presentation suggested the demeanor of a man assured 
of victory.'^' 

That afternoon and the next day board members participated 
in the discussion. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of fund- 
ing the Iowa proposal. 

Gates never forgave Flexner's opposition. "It is amazing," he 
angrily wrote Flexner. "How could you! You have never squarely 
met one of my arguments." The issue of not contributing to state 
universities was a sacred one to Gates. ^^^ 

For Gates, the issue of the board's making gifts to state 
universities was bound up with his views on the relations between 
capital and the State and his attitude toward the people generally. 
Gates did not argue against the existence of state universities. 
"Indeed, not a few advantages must be conceded them arising out 
of the fact that they are tax-supported," Gates asserted. "Every 
taxpayer is told by his annual tax bills that the higher education is 
not less necessary for a democracy than the district school and the 
high school at his door; and that all three are equally the 
inheritance of his children; that the university is not a privilege 
reserved for religion or leisure or wealth, but belongs equally to 
every citizen.'"" 

Gifts from private wealth, however, would violate the "princi- 
ple" of taxpayer support for state universities. They are "needless 
and gratuitous" as well; in 1923 state medical schools received 
fifteen times more state funds than they got in 1900, a testimonial 
to the "pride which legislature and people alike take in their 
universities" as well as to the threefold increase in the states' 
wealth. '^^ 

Worse yet, gifts by the Rockefeller philanthropies to state 
universities would cooperate with the state and federal govern- 
ments' inheritance taxes, "designed to confiscate between them 

Reforming Medical Education I 179 

the whole of very large fortunes." Since the Rockefeller philan- 
thropies were "the only part of the Rockefeller fortune certainly 
safe," none of their funds should be "thrown into the swollen 
maw of the confiscatory states. "^^^ 

"endow private colleges" 

This attitude toward the states had been the official policy of 
the GEB from 1906 until the 1919 policy statement on the need to 
expand the medical education program to state-supported medi- 
cal schools. The board was initially endowed by Rockefeller, Sr., 
with $1 million in 1902. In 1905 Gates and Junior persuaded the 
old man to donate another $10 million to allow the board to 
expand its program. Gates wrote Rockefeller's letter accompany- 
ing the gift, saying the funds were to be used "to promote a 
comprehensive system of higher education in the United States." 
As a member of the board, Gates proceeded to define what "the 
founder" intended in "his" letter and gift. Gates emphasized the 
necessity of forming a rationalized system of stable colleges and 
universities, "comprehensively and efficiently distributed. "^^^ 

Gates' plan was to build up private institutions in population 
centers by providing them with substantial endowments. The 
board should "cooperate with denominational agencies," which 
then controlled most of the private colleges, but the colleges were 
not to be aided so long as they remained creatures of any church. 
All of the Rockefeller-funded colleges and universities, as with 
the Carnegie Foundation's policy, were to be strictly nonsectarian 
and nondenominational. In addition, Gates declared, "we must 
seize the centers of wealth and population." Only they can assure 
continuing support for universities and colleges, adequate student 
enrollments, and a mutually supportive relationship between the 
institution and the local business class. This relationship was 
necessary "for influence, for usefulness, and for every form of 
power. "^^"^ 

Finally, support by the foundation should usually take the 
form of contributions to the institutions' endowments rather than 
yearly appropriations for operating budgets. Gates and Rockefel- 
ler learned from their experience with the University of Chicago 
that supporting a college's operating expenses could easily 

180 I Reforming Medical Education 

become like quicksand, consuming the whole energy and fortunes 
of the foundation. Moreover, Gates laid out four strategic 
reasons for making endowments the prime work of the GEB/^* 

First, endowments will give universities and colleges financial 
stability, enabling them to attract a faculty of "great gifts and 
attainments" without having to pay them high salaries. High- 
calibre academicians are attracted "not for money but for 
security, for permanence and continuity of work, for freedom 
from distraction." The same argument, that people are drawn 
into academic careers for reasons of security and the undistracted 
pursuit of research, was applied a few years later to support the 
demand for full-time clinical faculty. '^^ 

Second, by providing endowments to carefully selected 
institutions, the foundation could "preserve and mass our 
income ... on the strategic points in ever:increasing and cumu- 
lative power." It would not be dissipated in smaller amounts on 
the operating budgets of lesser programs. Third, general endow- 
ments given by the GEB would call forth other gifts and personal 
involvement by the local business class. ^^° 

Finally, the financial stability of the colleges, the involvement 
of local capitalists in them, and the continued power and wealth 
of foundations like the GEB would keep the colleges and 
universities out of the hands of the people. With sufficient 
endowments, "no clamor of the masses can embarrass the 
fearless pursuit and promulgation of truth." This truth, hke the 
colleges themselves, was intended by Gates, as he quoted John 
Stuart Mill, "to rear up minds and aspirations and faculties above 
the herd [and] to educate the leisured classes. "^"^^ 

The failure of state universities is their financial dependence 
on the legislature and the populace. "That fact becomes a 
powerful reason for endowing the private institutions," Gates 
candidly argued to the board. "If the test should ever come, the 
power which will act most effectively to preserve the state 
institutions will be private and denominational colleges and 
universities amply endowed and holding and teaching truth 
whatever may be the passions of the hour, and ultimately 
directing popular opinion into right channels." And, Gates 
prophesied, guiding the universities will be private foundations, 
"everywhere numerous and free." They will "so enlighten and 

Reforming Medical Education I 181 

direct popular opinion at all times that there can never ensue a 
conflict between the democracy and its state universities."^"*^ 

Thus, giving endowments to colleges in a system of higher 
education is like planting "apple trees" in the orchard of 

I want to see a hundred colleges in this country so planted as to 
cover the whole land and leave no part destitute, each of them 
planted in a fruitful soil, each so planted that it shall not be 
overshadowed by others, each conducted under such auspices as will 
take care of it, see that it is watered, particularly in its earlier years, 
see that it is properly fertilized, see that the forces of destruction 
which always fasten themselves on institutions shall be pruned 


During the period in which Gates' policy against giving to 
state universities was in force, the GEB, with Gates as chairman 
until 1917, often contributed to state programs. The board 
provided the salaries of professors of education at Southern state 
universities to tour their respective states to urge development of 
tax-supported high schools. The board paid the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture for the expenses of agricultural demonstration 
programs in the South. The campaign against the hookworm in 
the South and throughout the world was conducted by state and 
national health departments whose expenses were paid in part by 
Rockefeller money. ^'^'^ But there were two important differences 
between these programs and the issue of contributing to state 
university medical schools. 

First, the Rockefeller organization directly controlled all 
these programs. The GEB named the professors of education and 
defined their duties. Each professor toured his state "as an officer 
of the university, laden with its wisdom and moral authority." 
The high schools that were built because of his efforts were paid 
for and supported by the state and local governments. Similarly, 
the GEB found and hired Seaman Knapp to develop the 
agricultural demonstration program. And, again, "the hookworm 
work is done in every state under the guise of the State Health 
Boards, while it is in fact minutely directed by Mr. Rockefeller's 

182 I Reforming Medical Education 

staff and paid for with Mr. Rockefeller's money. '""^^ Clearly, 
Gates and the Rockefeller philanthropies were willing to give 
money to the State when the State provided legitimating cover for 
their programs and when they were able to direct the operation. 

Second, higher education differed from other programs. The 
bulk of Rockefeller's fortune was being used to expand the 
economic base of society — "employing labor, multiplying the 
means of subsistence, and enlarging the national wealth." But 
Gates recognized that other elements of civilization were equally 
important if the base was to survive. While Rockefeller's indus- 
tries were "enlarging the national wealth," his philanthropies 
must stimulate "progress in government and law, in language 
and literature, in philosophy and science, in art and refinement." 
And all these "are best promoted by means of the higher 
education. "^"^^ Thus, the institutions that wrought progress in any 
one sphere — agriculture, public schools, health — were not so 
important as the institutions that promoted progress of the whole 
of civilization. 

Because they are so widely believed to be fundamental to 
modern society, colleges and universities are more visible and 
thus more difficult for a single, national private philanthropy to 
control. Since the GEB and the Rockefeller Foundation could 
not control the institutions directly, they had to rely on people 
within each state. For Gates, it was tenuous enough to rely on 
local business classes to control private colleges. It was unthink- 
able to yield that control to the people, even through their 
legislators. It became a sacrosanct principle for Gates not to 
support state university programs that could not be directly 
controlled by the foundation. 

As public and governmental attacks on Rockefeller and his 
philanthropies started to mount, Gates' confidence in the ability 
of private colleges and foundations to protect private wealth 
turned to bitter pessimism. "There are too many evidences for 
my peace of mind," he wrote Rockefeller, Sr., following Judge 
Landis' anti-trust decision in 1907, "that wherever the voice of 
the people finds absolutely free expression, that voice is not the 
voice of reason, of enhghtenment, and least of all of a deep- 
seated sense of right in pubHc things." The people's voice is 
merely "the voice of reckless greed to lay violent hands on other 
people's property. "^'^'' 

Reforming Medical Education I 183 

Although all the political, legal, legislative, and public opin- 
ion attacks never seriously diminished Rockefeller's wealth, 
they struck sufficient fear into members of the capitalist class to 
make them somewhat circumspect in their actions. The GEB 
members gave up binding contracts and their strict full-time plan. 
But these "ominous" signs of the times made Gates all the more 
rigid. He strongly opposed weakening the full-time conditions, 
and he clung ever more fiercely to his view of the potential evils of 
the state universities and the importance of "throwing around 
them in every state a cordon of strong, free, privately endowed 
colleges and universities.""^* 

To Gates, then, the fight within the General Education Board 
over the appropriation to the state University of Iowa's medi- 
cal school was a struggle over fundamental principles. Would 
Rockefeller's fortune be dissipated and, even worse, given over 
to the enemy? The board answered by overturning the policy 
established by Gates. 

The GEB, including Rockefeller, Jr., and its newer officers 
were not acting on impulse or out of fear in contributing to state 
universities. They were impressed by the need to build a ra- 
tionalized system of medical schools and realized that much of 
the medical education in the country would necessarily fall to 
state schools. Furthermore, they trusted the state universities 
because they understood the strength of institutional structures 
and the class ties of professionals as forces for "constructive" but 
conservative social and technological change. Raymond Fosdick, 
one of the new GEB members and later president of it and the 
Rockefeller Foundation, explained the board's defeat of Gates' 
policy: "Gates did not understand the progressive forces which, 
even as he spoke, were converting the great state universities into 
the social and scientific laboratories they have become. 



Soon after the board's decision to pursue and develop the 
Iowa grant, Flexner brought in other requests to fund state- 
supported medical schools. By the middle of 1921 the board 
voted to aid four more taxpayer-supported medical schools — at 
the universities of Cincinnati, Colorado, Georgia, and Oregon — 

184 I Reforming Medical Education 

that had accepted the university arrangements that prevailed at 
Hopkins and the other ehte private schools. '^° 

After a couple of years of ad hoc decisions, Gates insisted his 
policy be respected or debated and voted on as policy. "Our 
funds, and our rules of policy," he declared to the board, "form 
our legacy to our successors." Exceptions "should be treated as 
exceptions. It is vital that these successive boards have written 
policies and the habit of them."'^^ 

At the end of 1924 the board voted to appointed a committee 
to recommend a policy on aid to state universities. The GEB 
committee consisted of Gates; Rockefeller, Jr.; George Vincent, 
president of the Rockefeller Foundation; James Angell, presi- 
dent of Yale University; Trevor Arnett, a vice-president of the 
University of Chicago; and Wickliffe Rose, the star director of 
the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Commission. 
The committee met at least twice and presented its report at the 
end of May 1925.^^^ 

The two-page report, written by Vincent and Rose, tersely 
dispensed with Gates' old policy. It noted that the GEB, the 
Rockefeller Foundation's numerous divisions, the Laura Spel- 
man Rockefeller Memorial Fund, and the International Educa- 
tion Board all had dealt with and financially aided taxpayer- 
supported universities and other institutions. The report politely 
acknowledged that in 1906 Gates' policy was "sound," but in 
1925 it was clearly "unwise to adopt principles so rigid as to 
prevent occasional contributions to medical schools whose 
growth might be of importance in a national system of medical 
education." With Gates boycotting the meeting and Wallace 
Buttrick conveniently absenting himself so as not to have to vote 
against his friend, the board made the de jure policy coincide with 
the Rockefeller foundations' practice.'" 

The reversals of the full-time contracts and the policy on state 
universities were too much for Gates to accept. Still fuming in 
October, he resigned from the GEB executive committee.'^"* 

The same revision was underway at the Carnegie Foundation, 
which was unable to join the GEB and the Rockefeller Founda- 
tion in aiding the University of Iowa because of opposition from 
old-timers among its trustees, men like Elihu Root, a corporate 
lawyer and former Secretary of State.'" The foundations and 

Reforming Medical Education I 185 

individual capitalists had lost their fear of State-run institutions. 
Indeed, many financiers and industrialists, adherents of the new 
corporate liberalism, saw great possibilities for stabilizing their 
markets and profits in cooperation with the State. Sufficient 
initiative in developing legislation and executive department 
agencies bore fruit in the creation of regulatory agencies that 
enabled the most powerful sectors of several industries to control 
and regulate their industry themselves. Capitalists, corporate 
managers, and professionals in America were coming to see the 
State in a new light. Corporate liberalism embraced the State as 
the guarantor of a stable, profitable economy. ^^^ 

The state universities were no exception. In the years ahead, 
all the major foundations gladly developed programs at state 
universities as freely as they used private universities. As with 
physicians and medical education, the more expensive it became 
to operate universities, the more the universities — state and 
private alike — turned to any agency or organization offering 
money. If money was offered for developing computer sciences, 
there were long lines of university presidents at the foundation 
doors explaining how strong their mathematics, statistics, and 
electrical engineering departments were and how well they 
worked together in the campus' fledgling program in computer 
science. Just as with medical schools, a major foundation would 
fund a few key schools to develop model departments or pro- 
grams. And soon thereafter other universities would be copying 
them or refining some problem area in a similar program, hoping 
to get on the bandwagon of money for research and to attract 
new faculty. The strategies developed in medical education 
were refined and applied by numerous foundations in a broad 
array of programs down through the years. 

This willingness to use state universities and other state organ- 
izations came partly from the changed attitude of the bus- 
iness class toward the State, accepting the necessity and value 
of State intervention in the economy. But foundation officers and 
trustees had other reasons as well. State universities performed a 
valuable role by conducting foundation-designed programs at 
taxpayer expense. Just as the General Education Board had 
fostered the development of vocationally oriented secondary 
schools in the South, for which taxpayers picked up the major 

186 I Reforming Medical Education 

tab, its provisions for development grants in medical education 
and other fields committed a university to continue to support the 
new program once foundation funding was cut off. Gates had 
always supported this tactic for objectives outside the university, 
but to Gates the university was too essential an institution to be 
entrusted to "the people." 

The decisive argument for including state universities in 
foundation programs, however, was necessity. In 1908 Andrew 
Carnegie dropped his opposition to including state university 
faculty in his foundation's retirement plan because in the Midwest 
and the West, state universities were the dominant institutions of 
higher education. The same understanding convinced John D. 
Rockefeller, Jr., and other members of the GEB to support 
state-run medical schools. If the foundations were to develop a 
system of higher education, it was necessary to include the pre- 
dominant type of institution. 

Finally, professionals as a group had demonstrated their value 
and loyalty to the objectives of the foundations. The foundations' 
own professional staffs had earned the trust and confidence of 
their employers — the financiers, industrialists, corporate lawyers, 
and university presidents who sat on the foundations' boards of 
trustees. Most staff officers felt trust in their fellow professionals 
in the field. Gates himself trusted professionals whom he hired 
and those who worked with his programs although at the end of 
his career he disagreed sharply with them. Rockefeller, Jr., voted 
with the board against Gates to rescind full-time binding con- 
tracts and to fund state university medical schools; he did so 
because he believed them important to the very goals of class 
domination that he shared with Gates. The foundations were not 
captured by their officers, as Gates asserted. Rather it was the 
professionals who were captured by the foundations. They did for 
the foundations what other members of the professional- 
managerial stratum had already been doing for the same people's 
industries and financial organizations. 

Whether an economist or medical doctor teaching and doing 
research in a university or developing and implementing pro- 
grams in foundations, professionals saw foundations supporting 
the development of their fields, providing for their livelihoods, 
promoting expanded opportunities, and rewarding excellence. 

Reforming Medical Education I 187 

What could be wrong in cooperating with such foundations? 
Weren't they, after all, run by such esteemed men as university 
presidents, corporation directors, and other professionals? 

These were the very relationships and attitudes encouraged by 
Gates and other self-conscious strategists who built the founda- 
tions and gave them purpose and direction. Like the medical 
schools in Gates' and Flexner's funding strategy, the leading 
foundations won the flattery of imitation by their weaker brothers 
and sisters. Gates was indeed the pillar of the General Education 
Board and the Rockefeller Foundation until his semi-retirement 
in 1917. Although his successors modified some of his policies 
and tactics. Gates' goals and strategies seemed inscribed in stone. 

Corporate philanthropies continued to find their mission in 
making capitalist society work better. Sometimes they tried to 
make it work more justly, but even then it was because gross 
injustice leads to movements for radical change. Generally, they 
have followed the corporate liberal view developed in the 
Progressive era and later joined by Rockefeller, Jr. His son 
David, head of the Chase Manhattan Bank, recently summed 
up this perspective, still popular in business and dominant in 

In view of the emerging demands for revision of the social contract, 
a passive response on the part of the business community could be 
dangerous. ... So it is up to businessmen to make common cause 
with other reformers — whether in government or on the campus or 
wherever — to prevent the unwise adoption of extreme and emotion- 
al remedies, but on the contrary to initiate necessary reforms that 
will make it possible for business to continue to function in a new 
cHmate. . . . '^"^ 

If the foundations lost their fear of the State, it was not 
because they had turned aside the objectives or general strategies 
of people like Gates. They pursued the same goal of rationalizing 
higher education in general and medical education in particular to 
make them better serve capitalist society, and hke the dominant 
view within the Rockefeller boards (but unlike Gates' personal 
view), they adopted corporate liberalism's perspective that the 
State is a necessary aid in rationalizing industries, markets, and 
social and educational institutions alike. 

188 I Reforming Medical Education 


The reform of medical education led to a contest over who 
would control medicine and for what ends. At the end of the 
nineteenth century laboratory scientists and elite practitioners 
formed an alliance to promote scientific medicine, revamp the 
AM A, win hcensing legislation, and begin reforming medical 
education. Abraham Flexner's report for the Carnegie Founda- 
tion capped the drive to eliminate proprietary medical schools, 
the pariahs of all proponents of scientific medicine. Proprietary 
schools, sensitive to the needs of the average general practitioner, 
had served the needs of most students going into family practice 
while their faculty enhanced their incomes with student fees and 
consultations referred by former students. These commercial 
schools, however, churned out "too many" doctors, resisted 
control by medical societies, and were completely inadequate to 
providing the scientific, research-oriented medical education that 
was desired by the profession's reform leaders and by capitalist 

Focusing on "commercial" medical schools and their low 
standards, the Flexner report articulated criticisms of American 
medical education and a program for reform that unified elite 
practitioners, medical scientists, and philanthropists. With the 
rapid decline of proprietary schools in the 1910s, however, the 
basis of unity evaporated, and more fundamental conflicts 

The organized medical profession, in particular the AM A, 
which represented practitioners, wanted to control entry into the 
profession, assure that the training of physicians upheld the newly 
established confidence of the public in doctors' technical ability, 
and ensure that medical schools provided material support and 
propaganda to continue the dominance of scientific, technologi- 
cal medicine. 

The new academic medical men, especially laboratory scien- 
tists, saw the medical centers as their turf. They wanted a greater 
share of the money spent on medical care, and they wanted, 
through their medical centers, to control all health care services 
and facilities. It made sense, they argued, for those who were the 
source of medical science to direct the resources of the new 
scientific medical system. 

Reforming Medical Education I 189 

Foundations, claiming objectivity from their position above 
interest group squabbles, wanted to rationalize medical care, to 
create an efficient and unified system that would contribute to the 
health of the people. To that end, the General Education Board 
and the Rockefeller Foundation together gave more than $100 
million to transform medical education. Like the committed 
academicians, they believed medical schools were the pivot of an 
increasingly technological system of medicine. 

The Carnegie Foundation stepped onto center stage before 
the conflicts between medical scientists and elite practitioners 
reemerged. Their support for the Council on Medical Education 
encouraged reform-minded practitioners and science-oriented 
academics vying for control Flexner's report supported practi- 
tioners' insistence on closing down medical colleges and raising 
the social class base of the profession, and academicians got 
support for channeling endowment and construction money into 
medical schools. The capitalist class was encouraged that a medi- 
cal care system useful to and compatible with its interests was at 
last at hand. The Carnegie Foundation, under Henry Pritchett's 
personal guidance, lent its prestige and legitimacy to the profes- 
sion's own strategy. 

The General Education Board and the Rockefeller Founda- 
tion, under Frederick T. Gates' direction, jumped in with a 
different strategy. Rather than supporting the scheme of the 
profession's leadership, which sought unity among academics and 
practitioners, the Rockefeller philanthropies supported the domi- 
nance of the medical scientists. Practitioners espoused capitalist 
values in wanting to make a profit from their professional services 
qua small business. But Gates and other foundation leaders had 
in mind a more important political and economic role for 
medicine, a role that required that health care be organized along 
the most efficient and productive lines possible under leadership 
that had demonstrated its support for the interests of the greater 
capitalist society. Just as the AMA Journal had warned at the 
turn of the century, there were dangers in letting wealthy 
capitalists formulate their own philanthropic designs. ^^* The 
GEB's full-time plan attacked the interests of cUnicians and the 
organized profession's ties to the medical faculty. 

The differences in the Carnegie and Rockefeller strategies can 
be traced to Pritchett and Gates. Pritchett, before organizing the 

190 I Reforming Medical Education 

foundation for Andrew Carnegie, had been president of MIT and 
before that an astronomer for the U.S. Coast and Geodesic 
Survey. He was a scientist and a professional, and he was 
concerned about developing and maintaining a sufficient supply 
of engineers and trained personnel for industrial and government 
needs. Gates was a former minister and, since the 1890s, a 
director of industry and finance. Gates' ministerial background 
probably contributed to his perception of the role of social 
institutions as an important superstructure for society. His daily 
experience with business affairs from his perch at the top of the 
capitalist class gave him a broad perspective on the needs of 

Though these two men were significant in shaping their 
foundations' policies, the differences between them were not 
personality differences. They differed on political questions — 
what will best serve the needs of capitalist society? — and their 
personal histories are merely sources for understanding how their 
differing political perspectives developed. Both men and both 
foundations supported rationalizing medical care. Gates foresaw 
the problems with the medical profession that Pritchett only later 
appreciated. Pritchett supported the profession's own plan of 
action for several years before he became piqued at the narrow 
concerns of the AMA and Bevan in particular. 

Bevan and other clinicians leading the AMA resented the 
General Education Board's attack on clinicians' interests. The 
Rockefeller philanthropies had become "a disturbing influence 
by dictating the scheme of organization of our medical schools," 
Bevan wrote to Pritchett. "Their position has become a real 
menace to sound development." The GEB had been "badly 
advised by men who are laboratory workers and teachers of 
anatomy and pathology," he complained. These men regarded 
"the laboratory as representing the science of medicine, and they 
rather feel that clinical medicine is not scientific." Bevan argued 
that in the training of physicians "the controlling influence must 
lie with the teachers of clinical medicine. "^^^ But Pritchett had 
seen the results of leaving medical education to the practitioners' 
singular concern for their own interests and their disregard of the 
larger goal of rationalizing education in the society. 

By 1920 the elite practitioners broke off their alUance with the 
medical academicians and other supporters of rationalized medi- 

Reforming Medical Education I 191 

cal care. A plan for compulsory sickness insurance sponsored by 
the American Association for Labor Legislation — a corporate 
liberal organization of social reformers, enlightened capitalists, 
and a few labor leaders — had won the support of a few key men in 
the AMA beginning in 1915. From the perspective of the time, 
the efforts to rationalize medicine seemed to physicians and 
foundation people alike to be leading to the demise of the private 
practitioner. In 1915 Welch rather condescendingly urged that 
"every effort ought to be made to rescue this situation," to 
preserve the "fine" institution of the family doctor. '^^ The dour 
prognosis for private practice medicine was definitely premature. 

As local medical society leaders caught on to "the profession- 
al philanthropists" and their attempts to "put something over on 
us to our detriment," the Progressives within the AMA were 
denounced. The academics, like Welch who had been elected 
AMA president in 1909, were by then isolated. By 1920 at least 
60 percent of the country's doctors were members of the AMA. '^^ 
With so many physicians joining up to support practitioners' 
interests, with the academics out of leadership and the Progres- 
sives, like Alexander Lambert, in retreat, the conservative 
leadership of the practitioners prevailed, a reign uninterrupted to 
this day.^" 

By the time Gates resigned from the General Education 
Board's executive committee in 1925, the efforts to rationalize 
medical care had not gotten as far as Gates had hoped. The 
constraints on his program notwithstanding, Gates' position 
became the established foundation direction in medicine for half 
a century. 


Epilogue: A Half-Century of 
Medicine in Corporate 
Capitalist Society 

A VIRTUAL revolution transformed American medicine from 1890 
to 1925. The medical profession ascended from ignominy and 
frustrated ambition to prestige, power, and considerable wealth. 
Medical science was developed from a mere gleam in the pro- 
fession's eye to an established and powerful force in society. 

This American success story is attributable to several histori- 
cal developments. First, industrial capitalism created a new role 
for science and its application. Science was elevated from a 
gentlemen's avocation to a vital element in the competition for 
increased productivity and decreased labor costs. Scientists seized 
the opportunity to be of service to the masters of this new 
economy, and they were in turn rewarded with money and 
facilities for their work and prestige for their achievements and 

As the organization of production grew larger and as the 
financial and legal underpinnings of capital grew more complex, 
capitalists recognized the need for managers and professionals to 
run their factories, their banks, and the social institutions that 
serviced the society and held it together. Universities became the 
main vehicles for training this new stratum of managers, profes- 
sionals, and scientists and for organizing scientific research. 

Second, physicians who were dissatisfied with the state of 
their profession recognized the economic and political, as well as 

Epilogue I 193 

technical, advantages of applying science to their rather crude 
art. By embracing scientific medicine, leading practitioners 
bolstered their crusade for a monopoly over the practice of 
medicine. The forefathers of academic medicine chose "glory" 
over "gold" and advanced the cause of medical science. Working 
together, elite doctors and medical researchers adopted the 
analytic methods and rubrics of science and lodged the training of 
physicians in the university. They sought designation as the 
society's legitimate professionals in matters of health and illness. 
With this strategy, they won the political and financial support of 
the new corporate class. 

Third, mobilizing the power of corporate wealth in the social 
sphere, foundations brought unprecedented aid to the promotion 
of scientific medicine and to the reform of medical education. As 
the guiding force for the reform and development of institutions 
to serve the scientific, educational, and cultural needs of capitalist 
society, foundations played the leading role in financing neces- 
sary changes in medicine. By providing the carrot of subsidy to 
capital-hungry medical schools, foundations secured a position of 
enormous power in medicine from 1910 to the 1930s. In this 
period, foundations gave some $300 million for medical educa- 
tion and research. Rosemary Stevens concluded, "Foundations 
were thus the most vital outside force in effecting changes in 
medical education after 1910."^ 



Of all the foundations, the General Education Board was, in 
the boastful but true words of Abraham Flexner, "the leading 
influence in remodeling American medical schools on the Hop- 
kins plan."^ The more than $82 million they applied to medical 
education reform by 1930 had an enormous impact because they 
employed a carefully conceived and faithfully followed strategy in 
which they consciously analyzed the interests and goals they 
wished to further, mapped out a plan for achieving them, and 
imposed necessary financial and programmatic conditions on 
recipient schools. The GEB sought a rationalized medical care 
system, directed by medical schools that were committed to a 
scientific and technological type of medicine. 

194 I Epilogue 

Frederick T. Gates and the General Education Board did not 
achieve everything they sought, but even by 1929, the year Gates 
died, they had firmly established three important strategies in the 
development of medicine in the United States. First, Gates and 
the GEB created an important role for foundations — to give 
direction to the development of American health care. They 
assumed the right to define what kind of health care their society 
needed, and they used their tremendous corporate wealth to real- 
ize that vision. In its early years, the GEB provided a leadership 
that was widely followed by other foundations and by wealthy 
individuals. Gates and his associates achieved power over Ameri- 
can medicine partly because of the wealth they wielded but, more 
fundamentally, because they articulated the interests of the corporate 
class in a strategy that won sufficient support to succeed. 

Second, as part of their strategy. Gates and the Rockefeller 
philanthropies promoted the dominance of scientific, technologi- 
cal medicine. Because of the ideological appeal of this new 
medicine and its presumed technical effectiveness, the philan- 
thropies and many other groups in industrialized capitalist 
societies embraced the analytic theories and the research and 
development methodologies of medical science and advocated 
the organization of medical practice solely around technological 
medicine. By 1930 they had firmly established the importance of 
well-equipped medical centers for all medical practice and health 
care organizations as well as for training new medical profession- 
als and for developing knowledge and technique. 

Finally, Gates and his followers in and out of the GEB began 
the long struggle to rationalize medical care, that is, to coordinate 
and integrate the different elements of the system so that it 
performs its designated functions. One of the main obstacles in 
that struggle has been private practice physicians, whose desire to 
profit from other people's sickness and suffering evoked angry 
opposition and accusations of "commercialism" from Gates and 
his colleagues. Because the interests of the organized medical 
profession conflicted with the goals of disseminating the technical 
benefits and ideological influences of medicine as widely as 
possible, the Rockefeller philanthropies attacked the profession 
head-on. Although they did not succeed in vanquishing the 
medical profession, they did initiate the strategy that was 
continued and refined by foundations for decades to come. 

Epilogue I 195 

The forces set in motion during Gates' time continued to 
develop over tlie next half-century, as the remainder of this 
chapter will make clear. Although foundations continued to 
provide leadership in medical affairs, the State soon took over 
from the foundations the dominant financial role in the reform 
and development of medical care. The State continued foun- 
dation-developed strategies of rationalizing medical care and 
developing technological medicine. This chapter will focus on two 
important developments that created conditions Gates and his 
contemporaries did not anticipate. 

First, technological medicine created opportunities for the 
development of new medical industries that came to play 
powerful roles in medical politics as well as in the medical 
economy. Rationalization was simply applied to this private 
market sector, faciHtating the expansion and control of capital- 
intensive medical industries but failing to correct the deficiencies 
inherent in market-distributed medicine. 

Second, the State's continued emphasis on medical technolo- 
gy served the corporate class interest in its own legitimation and 
the interests of medical technology interest groups. But the 
explosively inflationary effects of medical technology in a market 
system eventually undermined support for its expansion and 
encouraged the partial substitution of other legitimizing ideolo- 
gies. As we will also see, neither of these developments has 
produced a medical care system that meets the widely recognized 
needs of the population. 




One of the milestones in foundation-led efforts to rationalize 
health care was the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care 
(CCMC). The committee was formed in 1927 and was provided 
with a million-dollar research and expense fund by eight founda- 
tions, including the Rockefeller, Rosenwald, Macy, Milbank, and 
Carnegie philanthropies. Over the next four years the CCMC's 
staff and consultants turned out twenty-six reports, and in 1932, 
the committee concluded with a final report that at the time 
seemed sweeping.^ 

196 I Epilogue 

The report documented the great disparity in medical care 
according to income. Middle- and upper-income families aver- 
aged substantially more physician visits per person each year than 
lower-income families. Hospitalization, dental care, preventive 
care, and eye care were likewise strongly related to family 
income. The committee's critical analysis implied an important 
principle: The sale of medical care as a commodity distributes 
that care to those who can pay for it rather than on the basis of 
need. That is, it is distributed according to the society's class 

The committee recommended reorganizing medical care into 
group practices and developing more hospitals rationally distrib- 
uted where needed, voluntary insurance plans to spread the 
uneven financial risks of illness among the population, and 
coordination of health care by the government. The thrust of 
these recommendations was to reduce the runaway power of the 
medical profession over health care by weakening the fee-for- 
service system of private practitioners, strengthening the position 
of hospitals in the organization of health services, and organizing 
the callous market for medical services into a rationalized, 
regulated system."^ 

The report articulated and legitimized the perspective and 
goals of the medical care reform campaign, much as the Flexner 
report had done for the medical profession's campaign for 
medical education reform some twenty years before. The recom- 
mendations were supported by virtually all of the committee's 
thirty-eight public health officials, business leaders, foundation 
officers, medical school faculty members, social scientists, labor 
union officers, and government officials. Through the CCMC, 
they formed a loose coalition whose leaders included some 
foundation officers and staff members who had worked for or 
with Gates and the Rockefeller philanthropies. Over the years 
this coalition, soon joined by hospital administrators and some 
health insurance industry officers, led efforts to rationalize 
medical care. 

Nine representatives of organized medicine on the committee 
dissented from the majority report, attacking the group practice 
and prepaid insurance proposals and supporting voluntary insur- 
ance only if it protected fee-for-service practice under local 
medical society control. Although the committee majority advo- 

Epilogue I 197 

cated a continuation of privately controlled medical care, their 
proposals for more publicly organized financing and increased 
coordination of care were taken as a declaration of war by private 
practitioners. The AM A Journal rose to the occasion with a 
classic in hyperbole: 

The alinement is clear — on the one side the forces representing the 
great foundations, public health officialdom, social theory — even 
socialism and communism — inciting to revolution; on the other side, 
the organized medical profession of this country urging an orderly 
evolution guided by controlled experimentation which will observe 
the principles that have been found through the centuries to be 
necessary to the sound practice of medicine.' 

Efforts of this "revolutionary" coahtion in the 1930s to 
develop some form of national health insurance met defeat at 
the hands of the AMA's well-funded lobbying machine. "The 
controversy between 'organized medicine' and many major 
interests in our society became intensified," I. S. Falk, research 
director for the CCMC, recently observed, "and a dichotomy of 
national proportions began to take shape. "^ The AMA, as an 
interest group, declared civil war against the corporate class- 
supported efforts to rationalize medical care. A long succession of 
national health insurance bills was submitted to Congress by the 
reform coahtion, but they were defeated by the AMA wielding 
the medical profession's wealth and the resulting power to 
influence public opinion and legislators' votes. 


In the long run, however, the medical profession's autonomy 
was undermined by the same economic forces that contributed to 
their seemingly irrepressible rise in power, wealth, and status. 
Just as outside capital was needed to finance the development of 
medical science and the reform of medical education, technologi- 
cal medical care requires a financial base that cannot depend on 
the fees paid by individual patients. The dependence of physi- 
cians on technological medicine and the requirements of techno- 
logical medicine for large capital and operating expenditures 
eventually weakened the poHtical autonomy of the profession. 

Hospitals, for example, provided doctors with new diagnostic 

198 I Epilogue 

and treatment facilities that made physician care technically more 
sophisticated and enhanced the prestige of doctors' roles. But 
hospitals required increasing funds and a stable system of finance. 
Since physicians could not themselves provide the capital to build 
and equip hospitals, the hospitals had to depend on philanthropy, 
government, and commercial banks for their needed capital. As 
the demands for operational funds increased, hospitals had to 
look beyond the billing of individual patients to the resources of 
insurance companies and the government. Similarly, physicians 
depended on medical schools to produce advances that might be 
applied to medical practice, to train new members of the 
profession in science-based medical theories and techniques, and 
to socialize new members in norms that made the profession 
cohesive and powerful. They also depended on drug companies 
to produce their materia medica — the essential base of their 
practice since prescription drugs gave doctors new power by 
making the public see a physician in order to be allowed to obtain 
the fruits of medical research. Prescription drugs, hospital care, 
medical equipment and supplies, and health insurance all quickly 
became essential commodities of the medical kingdom over 
which physicians reigned. 

Private practice medicine had been founded upon simple, or 
petty, commodities that the physician himself could produce and 
sell. But technological medicine made physicians dependent 
on capital-intensive commodities, ones that require substantial 
capital investments and a good deal of hired labor to produce.'' 
For decades, this development redounded to the advantage of the 
profession. Medical technology enabled the profession and these 
new interest groups to further divide medical care into discrete 
service units and products that could be sold in the medical 
market. This intensive "commodification" of medical care en- 
larged the number of medical commodities that could be market- 
ed. Physicians assumed a new role in this market as middlemen as 
well as more "productive" producers. They were able to control 
more and more of the increasingly lucrative medical market, 
claiming a monopoly of expertise and authority over health care 
and over the increasing numbers of health workers. But the 
profession's growing dependence on capital-intensive medicine 
contained the seeds of their poHtical decline — the loss of their 
ability to protect the economic relations on which private practice 

Epilogue I 199 

was founded. This contradiction was focused especially in the 

Hospitals, as the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care 
demonstrated, were inadequate in number and not rationally 
distributed according to need. In the 1930s, the Julius Rosenwald 
Fund gave the American Hospital Association (AHA) $100,000 
and the loan of staff member Dr. C. Rufus Rorem (who had been 
a senior researcher for the CCMC) to help the AHA rationalize 
hospital administration and organize Blue Cross associations.* 
The foundation and the AHA hoped the hospital insurance 
program would provide a stable income for hospitals hard hit by 
the depression, centralize and integrate local health services 
around hospitals, and further the cause of voluntary health 
insurance at least for hospital expenses. 

Blue Cross plans were a phenomenal success and proved the 
value of "third-party" payment mechanisms. The risk of medical 
misfortune was spread among many individuals and families, 
enabling them to have access to more expensive kinds of care. 
The demands of labor unions for greater economic security and 
more benefits encouraged the spread of work-related group 
plans. By 1947, after several years of cost-plus government war 
contracts. Blue Cross enrollment reached 27 million members, 19 
percent of the population. After the war commercial insurance 
companies, following the Blue Cross lead, pushed energetically 
into the health insurance market they had previously all but 
ignored. Blue Cross and commercial health insurance companies 
developed this new commodity into a major industry — totaling 
$39 billion in premium income in 1977-and strengthened hospi- 
tals' finances and their position in the medical delivery system.' 

The groups that had coalesced around the Committee on the 
Costs of Medical Care pressed on with their campaign to reform 
medical care. Since these interest groups favored coordinating 
care under the leadership of medical schools with hospitals as the 
"logical center" of the system, hospitals became ardent advocates 
of reform and rationalization that expanded their roles and 
power. With the support of the AM A, the loose coalition won 
passage in 1946 of the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, 
better known as the Hill-Burton Act.^° The Hill-Burton Act was 
another milestone, not merely because of the $5 billion it has 
since provided for hospital construction and modernization, but 

200 I Epilogue 

because it marked the entrance of the State as a principal power 
in the medical care system. 


After World War II, the State became the conduit for more 
funds to expand and rationalize health care, taking over from 
foundations the primary role of financing reforms in medical 
education and later providing the operating funds for medical 
schools and medical care itself. The State's intervention would 
not, of course, be neutral. The State's interests are larger than 
those of any interest group, whether in health or in the larger 
economy, but the State is only relatively autonomous. In devel- 
oped capitalist countries, it shares a mutual dependence on and 
an interdependence with the dominant economic class. Top govern- 
ment officials come disproportionately from the corporate class. 
The government's tax revenues depend on the "health" of the 
capitalist economy. And the government promotes and protects 
the larger interests of the corporate class, particularly its domi- 
nant sectors. Though it might be to the disadvantage of any one 
company at a particular point in time, in the long run, govern- 
ment regulation benefits the dominant firms in an industry by 
permitting monopolistic concentrations of economic power but 
preventing those concentrations from turning into devastating 
wars of economic conquest. The State facilitates the process of 
capital accumulation and legitimizes the existing capitalist soci- 
ety. The explicit reliance of the corporate class on the State was 
articulated by corporate liberals in the Progressive era. Although 
the State's intervention in organizing production and social 
relations was initiated during that period, it matured rapidly 
during the Great Depression and became the ruling order during 
and following World War II. The State became as important to 
medicine as it is to the larger economy. '' 

While the commitment of the State to rationalizing medical 
care was clear, it was not clear whether it would rationalize it 
under existing private ownership and control or whether it would 
rationalize it under government ownership and control, as many 
Western European nations were doing. The consequences would 
be important. 

Rationalizing health services under private ownership and 

Epilogue I 201 

control would accelerate the transformation from simple com- 
modity production to capital-intensive commodity production 
while nationalization would begin to transform health services 
from commodities into a public service function. The direction 
was not decided as a matter of policy. It was shaped and 
constrained by economic and political developments in medical 
care and the larger society— in part by the AMA's opposition to 
national health insurance and the lack of a sufficiently strong and 
threatening working-class movement, in part by the growth of the 
powerful capitalist commodity sector in medical care, and in part 
by the role of the State in advanced capitalist countries. 

In Europe national health insurance programs were estab- 
lished either by fairly conservative governments in response to 
militant working-class revolt that threatened to overturn State 
power and capitalism itself or by labor or social democratic 
parties that won sufficient electoral victories. In 1883 Bismarck 
established the Sickness Insurance Act to help stem the growing 
support for socialism among the German working class. In 
England Lloyd George and the Liberal party enacted the 
National Health Insurance Act in 1911 to win the workingmen's 
swing vote away from the socialistic Labor party. When the 
Labor party finally came to power after the Second World War, it 
nationalized the hospitals and the insurance system in the 
National Health Service Act. 

In the United States the closest the working class came to 
threatening ruling powers was during the Progressive era when 
the Socialist party won significant election victories and its 
militant wing was gaining support for more revolutionary activity. 
In 1916 the American Association for Labor Legislation 
(A ALL), an alliance of Progressive businessmen and reformers 
and nonsocialist labor leaders, introduced its model compulsory 
medical insurance bill into several state legislatures. Although 
some Progressive AM A officials supported the bill, the proposal 
was crushed by private practitioners who organized within and 
outside the AMA to defeat this "attack"^' and by the conserva- 
tism and political repression that swept the country following 
America's entry into the war. 

In the absence of a sufficiently independent and mihtant 
working-class movement, national health insurance continued to 
be defeated in the decades that followed. Throughout the 1930s 

202 I Epilogue 

and 1940s the AMA carried on its vehement opposition to any 
federal intervention into the financing of medical care. Liberal 
reformers tried to get national health insurance included in the 
Social Security Act as part of the New Deal response to the Great 
Depression and the militant organizing among the unemployed 
and industrial workers. But the AMA was powerful enough to 
strike any mention of health care from the Social Security bill. In 
the 1940s the AMA waged well-funded, energetic, and success- 
ful campaigns against the Wagner-Murray-Dingell and Truman 
proposals for a nationalized health insurance system. The associa- 
tion even came around to supporting voluntary private health 
insurance as "the American way" to undercut the growing 
support for a government-run national health insurance pro- 
gram.'^ Finally accepting defeat, liberal proponents of medical 
care reform retreated to advocating proposals for government 
health insurance restricted to the beneficiaries of Social Security 

The depression and the Second World War firmly established 
the principle of federal economic intervention to organize and 
stimulate production and necessary social institutions and ser- 
vices. The Hill-Burton Act was an example of that principle 
extended to medical care. But the AMA continued its decades- 
old opposition to increasing the number of medical students and 
defeated proposals for direct aid to medical schools. Neverthe- 
less, a back door was opened with medical research funds — which 
the AMA welcomed as furthering the development of medical 
technology — to help pay some of the overhead and salaries at 
medical schools. In the 1950s construction grants and traineeships 
for medical schools were finally approved by Congress because of 
the intensifying public concern about a growing doctor shortage. 
The AMA was learning the limits of its political power.''* 

In the mid-1960s the advocates of rationalization won a major 
legislative and programmatic victory over the AMA with the 
passage of the Medicare and Medicaid bills, fallback programs 
from earlier efforts to obtain comprehensive national health 
insurance. Medicare is a Social Security program that covers most 
hospital, physician, and related medical services for more than 95 
percent of all Americans over sixty-five years of age. Medicaid, a 
welfare-linked federal and state program, helps pay the health 
care costs of people on welfare and other "medically indigent" 

Epilogue I 203 

persons. Bitterly and expensively fought by the medical societies, 
the passage of Medicare and Medicaid signaled the further 
decline of the medical profession's power and the growing 
dominance of forces committed to rationalizing medical care. 

Like private health insurance, these State subsidies and 
"third-party" programs were parts of larger strategies to rational- 
ize health services. Since attempts to nationalize even health 
insurance appeared blocked, proponents of rationalization 
seemed content with rationalizing the private medical market. 


While private health insurance provided a stable cash flow on 
which hospitals could depend and expand, Medicare and Medi- 
caid seemed a Umitless largess. They fed the market competition 
between hospitals and the avariciousness of hospital administra- 
tors, construction companies, banks, the medical supply industry 
and others who could get their hands into the public till. 
Following the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid, hospital 
and physician fees rose each year at twice their previous rates of 
increase, and the cost of medical care in general rose twice as fast 
as inflation in the rest of the economy. Capital investment per 
hospital bed rose three times as fast in the five years after 
Medicare and Medicaid began as it did in the five years before, 
reaching $56,000 per bed in 1976. Medicare and Medicaid picked 
up an even bigger share of the medical care bill — $37 billion in 
1977, a fourth of all personal health care expenditures from all 
sources. ^^ 

Medicare and Medicaid, together with private health insur- 
ance, effectively subsidized the rapid expansion of capital- 
intensive medical care. Hospitals felt assured that everything 
from automated blood-chemistry analysis machines (costing up- 
wards of $100,000) to computerized axial tomography (CAT) 
scanners (costing $300,000 to $750,000) could be paid for. 
Expansion has resulted in as many as 100,000 excess hospital beds 
in the country, averaging about $20,000 per bed in annual 
operating costs. ^^ Banks were among those who profited from this 
expansion by providing hospitals with profitable commercial 
loans, usually guaranteed by the government.^"' CHnical laborato- 

204 I Epilogue 

ries, hospital and medical supply, drug, and nursing home in- 
dustries similarly boomed. 

An increasing share of the medical commodities being pro- 
duced were capital-intensive ones compared with physician serv- 
ices. The "average" person spent seven to eight times more on 
physician and dentist services in 1977 than in 1950, but he or she 
spent twelve times more on hospital care and forty-nine times 
more on nursing home care.^* With the expansion of private 
health insurance and especially with the passage of Medicare and 
Medicaid, the power of physicians shrank relative to the increas- 
ing economic and political power of the capital-intensive medical 
sector. This sector has now surpassed the medical profession as 
the dominant political force in medical care, mainly because of 
the shared interests of three important groups. 


Medicaid and Medicare are the offspring of the groups that 
articulated the majority position of the Committee on the Costs 
of Medical Care, helped the American Hospital Association 
develop and coordinate the role of the hospital as the "logical 
center" of the health care system, and secured passage of the 
Hill-Burton and other federal aid programs. They are what 
Robert Alford calls the "corporate rationalizers,"^^ favoring the 
coordination and organizational integration of the different parts 
of the medical care system, or as they refer to it, the "non- 

In reality, there are three distinct groups that favor rationali- 
zation — two interest groups and a class. One interest group is 
composed of bureaucratic professionals — academic physicians 
and public health officialdom, advisers, planners, and consul- 
tants. They are the functionaries of bureaucratically organized 
medical care who staff the increasing layers of government units, 
medical schools, and health agencies and organizations of all 
types. Although the bureaucratic professionals generally main- 
tain that the major goals of medical reform are equal access for 
the poor and racial minorities and more accessible primary care 
for everyone, they have a material interest in such reforms 
because they gain power and status with each new level of 
rationalization. They are the technicians and managers on whom 

Epilogue I 205 

foundations and government rely for planning and conducting the 
reforms that are proposed and implemented. Bureaucratic pro- 
fessionals are the least powerful of the three groups because their 
positions are dependent on those whom they serve. 

The second interest group among the rationalizers are those 
industries with a direct economic stake in the medical market — 
the market rationalizers. The two most active industries in 
this group are hospitals and health insurance carriers. In 1976, 
voluntary hospitals, as privately owned nonprofit hospitals are 
called, claimed 70 percent of the beds, 72 percent of the average 
daily patient census, and 76 percent of the assets of nonfederal 
short-term hospitals. ^° And they took the lion's share of the more 
than $65 bilHon spent on hospital care in 1977, making them a 
major economic force in the health sector. While their existence 
does not depend on the medical commodity marketplace — that is, 
they would exist even in a nationalized health system — their 
autonomous power is greatly enhanced by this privately con- 
trolled market system. Like any corporation, hospitals have 
entrepreneurial power to capture what they can of the market, ^^ 
accumulate a surplus of revenues above expenses, and allocate 
resources within the constraints of the market. 

Similarly, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, though "not for 
profit," aggressively marketed about $19 billion of their insurance 
products in the medical market in 1977. Like the "Blues," 
profit-making insurance companies, which collected about $20 
biUion in health insurance premiums in that year, depend for 
their existence on the market system for medical care. The 
traditionally close ties of Blue Cross and Blue Shield to hospitals 
and medical societies, respectively, have weakened in recent 
years because of public pressure over rapid rate increases which 
brought stronger regulation and formal separation from their 
parent bodies. The Blues and commercial carriers now share 
increasingly similar interests in holding down medical costs to 
what the premium market will bear. Together with drug compa- 
nies, banks, and other profit-making concerns, hospitals and 
insurance companies have a direct stake in the ascendance of an 
expanding commodity system in medical care, especially with the 
enormous State subsidies represented by Medicare and Medicaid 
or a national health insurance program. Their interest in rational- 
ization is limited to expanding the market for their wares and 

206 I Epilogue 

protecting their respective places in the increasingly rationahzed 
system they see as inevitable. 

The third group of rationalizers is the corporate class, in- 
cluding those who own or manage the nation's corporate wealth 
and foundation trustees and officers who supervise the expendi- 
ture of that portion of the wealth that is devoted to managing 
social institutions. The contemporary corporate class includes the 
main shareholders and the top officers in the largest corporations. 
It certainly includes the one-half of one (0.5) percent of the 
nation's population who own one-fifth of all the nation's wealth, 
including half the net worth of all bonds and corporate stock." 
Economic power is similarly concentrated among corporations, a 
minute fraction of which (0.06 percent, or 958 corporations) held 
a majority (53.2 percent) of all corporate assets in 1967. Similar 
concentrations are found in the separate economic sectors — 
manufacturing, banking, and insurance among them." 

Power is concentrated among foundations, too. Of the 2,818 
foundations in the United States in 1976, the top eight (represent- 
ing three-tenths of one percent of all foundations) held an 
average of $948 million in assets while three-fourths held less than 
$5 million each, and another fifth had assets of $5 million to $25 
million. ^"^ The top eight — including such important ones in the 
health field as the Robert Wood Johnson, Rockefeller, Kresge, 
and Kellogg foundations — have an enormously disproportionate 
impact on educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Al- 
though the members of this class do not think alike by any means, 
they share a common interest in maintaining the capitalist 
economic system and their collective positions of power and 
wealth in it." 

As my analysis of the involvement of earlier capitalists in 
medicine demonstrates, the corporate class has a compeUing, 
but narrow interest, in the health of the people and the kind 
of medical care provided for them. But that interest extends only 
to assuring that the population maintains sufficient physical and 
mental health to provide an adequate work force and that 
medical care encourages dependence on technical and profession- 
al management of individual problems. Capitalists may be con- 
cerned about accessibility, as Gates was, because an inaccessi- 
ble system cannot perform its designated functions. They may 
even favor the complete nationalization of medical care, as 

Epilogue I 207 

Vicente Navarro points out,^^ to raise productivity or placate 
threatening movements and bolster the failing legitimacy of the 

However, corporate owners and managers and foundation 
trustees and officers are ideologically reluctant to view private 
ownership and control as inherently problematic in providing for 
social needs. Members of the class who are associated with 
corporations obviously profit directly from the private control of 
capital accumulation while the influence of foundation members 
derives from their foundations' investments in corporate wealth. 
They thus share a material interest in ignoring any conflict 
between private control of resources and the stated goals of 
rationalizing medical care. 

Bureaucratic professionals, medical industries, and the corpo- 
rate class coalesced around their common interests — expanding 
capital-intensive medical care and bureaucratic organization as 
the main features of rationalization, being careful not to trample 
on private ownership and control. Faced with this corporate 
model of rationalization, how did the State respond? 


The State intervened with subsidy, incentive, and regulatory 
programs to readjust the market system, decrease the market 
economy's inequitable distribution of medical commodities, and 
restrain the unusually inflationary forces of the medical market- 
place. Although it has provided "categorical" programs for those 
who could not afford essential medical services, the State has not 
tried to replace the commodity market with an equitably distrib- 
uted pubHc service. Because the power of the medical profession, 
in the absence of sufficient countervaiHng pressure, blocked 
efforts to nationalize the financing and delivery of medical care in 
this country, the privately owned and privately controlled system 
was simply expanded through direct subsidies and incentives. 
Expansion and subsidy favored the development of a capital- 
intensive commodity medical sector both because it was the 
economically dominant portion of the medical market and be- 
cause it was consistent with the ideological perspectives and 
material interests of the corporate class. 

Those corporation and foundation members who have no 

208 I Epilogue 

investment in profit-making medical industries see the health care 
system as a support industry for the primary and secondary 
sectors of the economy. But by the 1950s the powerful finance 
sector of the economy, represented by insurance companies and 
banks, had developed a large stake in the subsidized medical 
market. Few members of the corporate class, even those without 
profit-making medical investments, railed against "commercial- 
ism" in medicine, as Rockefeller philanthropy officers had done 
in their drive against private practitioners early in the century. 
Even most bureaucratic professionals, who do not themselves 
have a financial stake in profit-making medical care, preferred to 
ignore the issue. ^"^ 

The more the State intervened financially in the medical care 
system, the more likely it became that it would have to intervene 
politically to control the system in which it had developed a 
principal financial interest. Employers worried about the growing 
cost of health plan benefits they were paying. In 1976 General 
Motors spent more on Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, about 
one billion dollars, than it did on purchases from U.S. Steel. Steel 
companies, banks, airhnes, and most industries were unhappy 
about the 10 to 25 percent a year increase in the cost of employee 
health insurance benefits. ^^ And unions were concerned because 
every increase in health insurance rates (paid for through fringe 
benefits) cuts into potential pay raises for their members. Other 
health services "consumer" groups also criticized the shrinking 
proportion of physicians and services devoted to primary care and 
the rising expenses that consumers had to pay out of their own 
pockets, in spite of increasing insurance coverage. Congress, the 
executive branch, and state governments were fearful of their 
impending fiscal crises in which expenditures were rapidly out- 
stripping tax revenues; they wanted to restrain the rising costs 
of their medical care programs, which had increased from a 
fourth of total health expenditures before Medicare and Medicaid 
began to more than 42 percent in less than ten years. ^^ 

By the time market conditions and rising State subsidies 
necessitated rationalization, the only substantial profit-making 
medical sector without sufficient protective support in the cor- 
porate class or other powerful sectors of society was the petty 
commodity sector — private practitioners. The control and regula- 
tion of physician services seemed inevitable because doctors' 

Epilogue I 209 

orders for their patients' hospital stays and procedures were 
important elements in the meteoric rise in tax dollars being spent 
on Medicare and Medicaid as well as private expenditures for 
health services. Prepaid group practices, which originated in the 
1920s and were strongly recommended by the Committee on the 
Costs of Medical Care, became a major part of the reorganization 
plans of rationalizers. Despite long-standing opposition from 
medical societies, the federal government promoted these pre- 
paid plans, called Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). 
HMOs have a built-in incentive to keep costs down because they 
convert high utilization by patients from an asset to the provider, 
as in fee-for-service practice, to a liability when a person gets all 
his or her care for a monthly fee paid in advance. ^° Bureaucratic 
organization seems destined to replace solo private practitioners. 
In 1972, despite the AMA's enormous lobbying machine in 
Washington, the rationalizing forces won congressional approval 
of a bill to create Professional Standards Review Organizations 
(PSROs) that would establish utilization review over individ- 
ual practitioners' services to Medicare and Medicaid recipients. 
Some state and local medical societies, wanting nothing to do 
with outside review even if it were controlled by the profession, 
threatened to boycott the required program. But the AMA 
Journal, acknowledging the handwriting on the wall, soberly 
warned physicians: "If we stand as a rock against the current, our 
base will be eroded and we will be swept aside. Organized 
medicine must remain elastic and adapt to our time. To do less is 
to invite extinction in the manner of dinosaurs and dodos. . . . 
There are perilous times ahead but we must participate if we are 
to prevail. "^^ As an example of their new realism, the AMA 
dropped its half-century-long opposition to any form of national 
health insurance and put forth its own "Medi-Credit" proposal to 
try to salvage for private practice physicians conditions that 
would permit their survival. 


Just as the unity among elite private practitioners and medical 
school faculty dissolved after their victory over traditional doctors 
and medical sectarianism early in this century, so is the unity 
among corporate rationalizers more fragile now that their victory 
over private practice medicine is in sight. Hospitals, though the 

210 I Epilogue 

centerpiece of rationalized health care, have become the bete 
noire to groups trying to contain rising health care expenditures. 
The state and local Comprehensive Health Planning agencies, 
mandated by Congress in the mid-1960s, failed to put a sufficient 
brake on hospital expansion and escalating costs. Their suc- 
cessors, a somewhat strengthened network of Health Systems 
Agencies (HSAs) created by the National Health Planning and 
Resources Development Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-641), are another 
attempt to bring order to the economic chaos of the unregu- 
lated medical market and to avert the fiscal bankruptcy of the 
government's medical care programs. While these agencies, in 
combination with state-run Certificate of Need programs, will 
probably slow expansion of hospitals and their acquisition of very 
expensive equipment, they are unlikely to bring the different 
medical interest groups to heel.^^ 

Members of the corporate class, through business organiza- 
tions and foundations, push for reform of medical care to im- 
prove its delivery of primary care services and to rationalize its 
organization and financing. The Committee for Economic Devel- 
opment (CED), a policy organization with representatives from 
nearly 200 major corporations, has urged the restructuring of 
medical care into HMOs, the development of national health 
insurance, and increased government planning and regulation 
of medical care providers. ^^ Foundations similarly use their 
corporate wealth to encourage the coordination of care around 
hospitals and academic medical centers, with an emphasis on 
promoting "front-line" or primary medical care so badly neglect- 
ed by the technology-oriented, medical market. The Robert 
Wood Johnson Foundation, with more than $1 billion in assets 
derived from the Johnson and Johnson band-aid empire, spends 
its funds entirely in the health field. The Rockefeller Foundation, 
with assets over $700 million, the Kellogg Foundation, with 
nearly $1 billion in assets, the Kresge Foundation, with more than 
$600 million in assets, and others all place great emphasis on 
reforming medical care.^'* Although their wealth is enormous, it is 
dwarfed by the health expenditures of the federal government 
each year. The foundations, therefore, concern themselves with 
developing model programs, which may then be taken over by 
the government, and with directly influencing policy in govern- 
ment as well as in medical care institutions. 

Epilogue I 211 

The attempts of foundations and the State to rationalize 
heahh care have simply been superimposed over the market 
economy for health services. Despite their appealing rhetoric 
favoring coordination, integration, and planning, bureaucratic 
and corporate rationalizers are unable to control all the necessary 
factors in the production and provision of health services and 
products. ^^ Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, the Blues, 
drug and hospital supply and equipment companies, and medical 
schools all seek the commanding role in the health system — or 
at least the lion's share of its resources. Present rationalizing 
strategies conceal the disparity between stated goals and political 
and economic reality; they appeal to legislative and bureaucratic 
mechanisms to unify and integrate the system. 

The failure of one mechanism is taken as evidence of the need 
for another patchwork mechanism. Endemic inflationary prob- 
lems, caused in part by Medicare and Medicaid, were answered 
with Comprehensive Health Planning agencies, and their failure 
was the impetus for the creation of Health Systems Agencies 
(HSAs). Falk, the research director for the Committee on the 
Costs of Medical Care half a century ago, warned recently that 
the powerful interest groups in medical care will all be reluctant 
to let their interests be overriden by some higher social interest. 
But he is left with the strikingly naive hope that these "resistances 
will have to be overcome as far as possible by the reasonableness 
of the proposals and the persuasiveness of the explanations, and 
beyond that, by confrontations in the legislative arena. ''^^ 

Such mechanical solutions, which dominate health planning, 
ignore the substantial political and economic power that simulta- 
neously unites and divides the system's interests. The medical 
care system has evolved into a glut of interest groups, none of 
which has sufficient power to prevail by itself. Although the 
proponents of corporate rationalization have prevailed over the 
petty commodity sector, they do not share among themselves an 
interest in the coordination and integration of the entire system. 
However, their occasional bickering among themselves — for 
example, over who will be regulated and how much^'' — should not 
be mistaken for fundamental opposition. Corporate rationalizers 
and organized medicine share an overriding and unifying interest 
in the private ownership and private control of social resources. 
Each group is best able to promote its own survival, growth, and 

212 I Epilogue 

profits if it is not subordinate to either the State or any other 
interest group. Alford argues, 

Differences between dominant and challenging interests should not 
be overemphasized . . . because both professional monopoly and 
corporate rationalization are modes of organizing health care within 
the context of a market society. Both must avoid encroachments 
upon their respective positions of power and privilege which depend 
upon continuation of market institutions: the ownership and control 
of individual labor, facihties, and organizations (even nonprofit 
ones) by autonomous groups and individuals, with no meaningful 
mechanisms of public control.^* 

Thus the State has entered into the medical care arena very 
much as the foundations had. Whatever the intent of the 
supporters of specific legislative programs, federal and state 
programs have, in sum, furthered the transformation of medical 
care from simple commodities, produced and sold largely by 
private-practice physicians, to capital-intensive commodities, pro- 
duced and sold by bureaucratic organizations that assemble large 
amounts of capital and hired labor and strive to accumulate a sur- 
plus of revenue over expenses. 

State intervention to rationalize medical care thus benefited 
interest groups whose existence depends on technological 
medicine — especially hospitals, health insurance carriers, and 
medical technology industries — more than it helped the medical 
profession, although doctors gained financially, too. How did 
consumers fare in these developments? Did they also benefit 
from the State's rationalization of the private medical market? 


The combination of private and public third-party payment 
programs has reduced the gross inequalities in utilization of 
medical care, but these programs have neither eliminated the 
inequities nor provided health care matched to the population's 
health needs. Rather than need determining the allocation and 
distribution of health services, which equity would require, we 
find that services became distributed according to their prevaiUng 
markets. The "commodification" of health services remains the 
major cause of the inaccessibihty of health services to the poor 

Epilogue I 213 

and a major factor in the distortion of care to the entire society. 

Over the last three decades private heahh insurance and 
pubUc assistance programs have narrowed the gaps between the 
poor and nonpoor in their use of health services. Poor adults from 
eighteen to sixty-four years old now make slightly more visits to a 
physician on the average than do nonpoor adults. However, the 
poor at all ages receive less care relative to their need for medical 
care. The disparity between need and what's received is especial- 
ly great for children.^' 

The reasons for these class differences are not difficult to find. 
First, many physicians do not accept Medicaid patients because 
Medicaid programs, which are administered by the states within 
federal guidelines, pay less than doctors are used to getting from 
their privately insured patients. In California, only about a third 
of the state's obstetricians and gynecologists participate in the 
Medicaid program, leaving nearly a third of the state's fifty-eight 
counties without a single obstetrician or gynecologist to serve 
Medicaid women. "^^ Second, white physicians and dentists gener- 
ally do not locate their offices in poor or minority communities.^^ 
Third, as of 1971 nearly half the country's 35.5 million people 
officially defined as poor had no Medicaid coverage. "^^ 

Health insurance itself is distributed in part according to the 
class structure. Today 90 percent of all Americans have some 
form of health insurance, three-fourths of them from private 
insurance plans. In general, however, the most comprehensive 
health insurance is available to persons in higher paying occupa- 
tions and in the dominant sectors of the economy, which are more 
unionized and can more easily pass along the costs of health 
insurance to consumers. In 1974 some 60 percent of the employed 
poor had no health insurance at all, and fewer than 10 percent 
were insured for nonhospital services. "^^ 

While the growth of private health insurance and government 
third-party payment programs helped reduce the inequities, they 
do not cover all people or all health services equally well. In 1977 
sixty-one cents of each dollar spent on personal health care 
services were paid by third-party payment plans, leaving consum- 
ers to pay thirty-nine cents of each dollar out of their own 
pockets. Third-party payers covered more than 90 percent of the 
cost of hospital care, but only 61 percent of physician fees and 
even less for drugs and other commodities. 


214 I Epilogue 

Thus, even with the government subsidizing medical care for 
the poor, the production and sale of medical care as commodities 
are still distributed according to the class structure of the society 
rather than on the basis of need. However, those at the bottom of 
the class structure have not been the only ones to suffer under this 
market economy. 

The market system has also distorted the character and supply 
of medical care for most of the population. The relatively 
complete private and public third-party coverage of hospital care 
has encouraged hospitalization for diagnostic and therapeutic 
procedures that could be done more safely and inexpensively 
outside hospitals — or avoided altogether. 

Most surgery in the United States is done on a fee-for-service 
basis. Doctors get paid high surgical fees for the operations they 
perform, not for those cases in which they decide surgery is 
unnecessary. As Dr. Charles Lewis has observed, "Patient 
admissions for surgery expand to fill beds, operating suites, and 
surgeons' time.'"*^ The United States has twice the ratio of 
full-time surgeons to its population as England and Wales — and 
twice as high rates of surgery. "^^ A congressional report estimated 
that in 1974 approximately 2.4 million unnecessary operations 
were performed in this country, resulting in 11,900 avoidable 
deaths and a cost of $3.9 billion.'*'' 

Nationally, Medicaid patients have become a major source of 
revenue for "underemployed" surgeons and underutilized hospi- 
tal facilities. Medicaid recipients undergo surgery at twice the 
rate of the general population and for some elective operations 
(that is, for conditions that are not life-threatening) the difference 
is even greater.'** Many well-insured persons — whether they be 
privately insured members of the working class and middle class 
or government-subsidized members of the poor and near-poor 
strata — have been victimized by excessive care just as the poor 
have historically been victimized by being priced out of adequate 
medical care. 

Physicians have concentrated themselves in specialties and 
locations where they can take best advantage of the market for 
their services. Because physicians have such a strong influence on 
the demand for their services, large numbers of doctors in even a 
relatively small but affluent area make an exceptionally fine living 
by ordering enormous numbers of diagnostic and therapeutic 

Epilogue I 215 

procedures which they either perform or evaluate. Their market 
in the past rehed mainly on the middle and upper classes, and 
because of the financial and bureaucratic constraints of Medicaid, 
doctors are still attracted more to the shrinking but well-off areas 
of big cities and the expanding suburbs than to poor and 
working-class areas. While affluent areas of Chicago average 210 
physicians per 100,000 persons, poverty areas have sixteen 
doctors per 100,000 — one-eighth as many physicians to popula- 
tion. Similarly, Mississippi has only a third as many doctors as 
New York state's abundant average of 244 per 100,000."^^ 

Physicians have also abandoned primary care practice for 
more lucrative and prestigious specialties. General practitioners, 
who in 1963 comprised nearly 28 percent of the country's 
nonfederal physicians, by 1973 represented less than 18 percent 
of the total. If we add to these GPs those specialists whose 
practices are mainly focused on primary care — those in internal 
medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, and family practice — still less 
than half of all U.S. physicians are involved in primary care. By 
contrast, prepaid group practices average 69 percent of their 
physicians in primary care and the British National Health 
Service includes 74 percent. This leaves the United States with 
only sixty primary care physicians per 100,000 population, far 
below the ratio of 133 such doctors per 100,000 persons recom- 
mended as necessary to provide adequate primary care.^° 

Since the turn of the century, the generalist and primary care 
have taken a back seat to specialized practice and sometimes even 
a career in medical research. The countryside, with its limited 
market for specialty services and its isolation from centers of 
technological medicine, cannot compete with more densely 
populated urban areas with their hospitals linked to research- 
oriented medical schools. Rural areas were of no interest to 
modern physicians, and the urban poor were of interest only 
when they served as research or teaching material. The techno- 
logical imperative in medicine combined with the market organi- 
zation of medical care to divert physicians from areas and types of 
services in which they were most needed to those that were most 
interesting, profitable, and professionally rewarding to them. In 
sum, the private medical market has remained a major contradic- 
tion in efforts to provide an accessible system of medicine geared 
to the needs of the population. 

216 I Epilogue 


It can be stated as almost a certainty that national health 
insurance in the United States will continue to promote capital- 
intensive medical care in a market system. Each major medical 
interest group is represented by a bill in Congress. The AMA, the 
insurance industry, and the American Hospital Association have 
all submitted bills that would favor their members. The AFL-CIO 
and most bureaucratic professionals support the successive bills 
sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy. The Kennedy bills 
would go farther than other national health insurance bills in 
providing comprehensive and accessible care. Some versions of 
the bill would even eliminate any administrative or third-party 
role for insurance companies. All versions include an incentive 
payment system to encourage physicians to join prepaid group 
practices. While the Kennedy proposals would weaken the 
financial base of fee-for-service medicine, none of them would 
eHminate it nor would they eliminate the professional control of 
hospitals and medical schools. 

Only one proposal now under consideration would radically 
alter the commodity system of medical care. The Health Service 
Act, a bill sponsored by Representative Ronald Dellums, would 
create a national health service that would employ physicians and 
all other personnel on a salaried basis, take over the nation's 
hospitals, control the production of health workers in medical 
schools and other training programs, eliminate insurance compa- 
nies from health care, and reduce the hierarchy of power among 
health workers by subordinating all policy to community-based 
boards. The Dellums bill would effectively transform the com- 
modity production of medical care into noncommodity "social 
production." Were the Dellums proposal implemented, it would 
give the United States one of the most advanced health care 
systems in the world, surpassing the most progressive systems in 
Western Europe and perhaps equaling the organizational ration- 
ality and public service character of health care in many socialist 
countries. The Dellums bill is supported by a small proportion of 
bureaucratic professionals, some of whom are leaders of the 
American Public Health Association, and by left-of-center 

Epilogue I 217 

political groups. So thoroughly does it assault every vested 
interest in health care and the ideological tenets of capitalist 
society that it is a virtual certainty that the Dellums bill will not 
see the light of legislative victory in the near future. Nevertheless, 
it may serve as a model for those who want to reform the U.S. 
medical care system. 

The more far-reaching of the Kennedy bills are also unlikely 
to win congressional approval. Their attacks on the interests of 
the AMA, the best-financed lobby in the country, and the 
insurance industry, not only a powerful lobby but a controlling 
force in the nation's economy as well, make their legislative 
future very dim. The other bills submitted by medical interest 
groups will also fail because they too narrowly support the 
interests of one sector of the industry. Instead, an administra- 
tion-sponsored bill will become the foundation of national health 
legislation, with amendments and revisions made to accommo- 
date the more powerful interest groups that have entered the 

The legislation that emerges from this process will undoubted- 
ly favor the medical market and enhance the capital-intensive 
sector of the system. It is hkely that whatever plan is adopted will 
convert additional services that are now provided by the govern- 
ment into commodities that can be bought and sold on the private 
market. ^^ The insurance system will organize the collection and 
payment of private funds into this commodity system with federal 
tax dollars subsidizing only those who are priced out of the 
medical market, thereby increasing the access of those groups to 
medical care. While national health insurance will probably 
encourage a slight redistribution of physicians, geographically 
and between specialties and primary care, it will not break up the 
power of interest groups and their manipulation of the medical 
market to their advantages. It is likely that national health 
insurance will push doctors toward prepaid group practice at a 
slightly faster rate, and it will strengthen the control of most 
dominant interest groups — especially the hospitals, medical 
schools, insurance companies, and drug and medical supply 
industries. More regulation will be developed to restrain infla- 
tionary forces, somewhat protecting the interests of the State, 
and to prevent the competitive interests of each segment from 
destroying the medical care system they share. In other words. 

218 I Epilogue 

through national heahh insurance, the State will intensify the 
capital-intensive commodity production of medical care and 
rationalize the medical system in ways that further the common 
interests of the system's dominant members. If this sounds 
familiar, it should. National health insurance essentially promises 
to give us more of the same. 

Given the present size and importance of the medical 
commodity sector and the absence of militant demands from the 
underclasses, the State will continue to develop the role it has 
increasingly taken over from foundations since World War II. It 
will protect and promote a medical care system that is compatible 
with corporate capitalist society's economic and political 
organization — not only in the organization of medical care, but in 
its content as well. 


After World War II, the State rapidly replaced foundations as 
the major source of financial support and direction in medical 
research and education, just as it did in medical care. As the 
remainder of this chapter will demonstrate, the State, like 
foundations and wealthy individuals before it, continued to 
promote and develop a narrowly technical and ideologically 
conservative type of medicine — despite the overwhelming evi- 
dence that broad factors in the physical and social environment 
have at least as great an impact on health status as the 
microbiological factors that receive most of the attention. 


Nearly all of us turn to medicine when we are sick. Whether 
the healer is called a shaman, a witchdoctor, a priest, a feldsher, 
or a physician, we all seek someone in whom to place our 
confidence, someone we believe will make us well. Early in the 
nineteenth century, most Americans relied on lay healers. By the 
middle or latter part of that century, most Americans turned to 
physicians, who were being prodigiously produced in mush- 
rooming medical schools throughout the land. At the time, one 
could choose the particular medical theory one wanted in a 
physician — from homeopathy to orthodox or "allopathic" medi- 

Epilogue I 219 

cine — or the particular type of healer — from herbal traditions 
to Christian Science. Not until the last two decades of the last 
century were there any significant number of physicians who prac- 
ticed what they called "scientific" medicine, meaning a medical 
practice based on principles continuously being developed and 
refined by the analytic biological and physical sciences. 

Today most of us look to doctors and hospitals and surgery 
and drugs to cure us of every ill. We want solace, and, therefore, 
we expect it. The medical profession has, of course, encouraged 
such beliefs through its campaigns to increase the confidence of 
the populace (described in Chapter 2). Other medical interest 
groups, Uke the American Cancer Society and the National 
Cancer Institute, have joined in the campaign for public confi- 
dence, frequently hosting briefing sessions for newspapers' 
science and medical writers to learn about the "latest advances" 
in cancer treatment. We have come to credit scientific, technolog- 
ical medicine with having reduced the enormously high death 
rates of past centuries and with being effective against most 
disease and suffering in our time.^^ Yet such past successes and 
current prowess are greatly exaggerated. 



Historical epidemiological evidence overwhelmingly supports 
the conclusion that medical science has played a relatively small 
role in reducing morbidity and mortality. Thomas McKeown^^ 
argues very convincingly that improved health and the great 
decHne in Western Europe's total death rate from the eighteenth 
century to the present were due to four factors. First, nutrition 
improved because food supplies increased from the early eigh- 
teenth century, due initially to the reorganization of agriculture 
rather than improved chemical or mechanical technology. Sec- 
ond, environmental sanitation measures — cleaning up the accu- 
mulated filth of the cities, assuring uncontaminated water sup- 
phes, and so forth — instituted by the late nineteenth century 
added to improved nutrition and further reduced mortality, 
particularly of children. These measures were well underway by 
the middle of the century, before either the concept of specific 

220 I Epilogue 

causes of disease or the germ theory was widely accepted. Third, 
these improvements in the standard of Hving caused a substantial 
increase in population, which would have overrun the gains in 
health if birth rates and family size had not soon sharply declined. 
Finally, specific preventive and therapeutic medical measures 
gradually introduced in the twentieth century sUghtly accelerated 
the already substantial decHne in mortality and also improved 
physical health. While science greatly extended the original 
nontechnological advances in agriculture, hygiene, and birth 
control, the contribution of medical science to the overall 
reduction in death rates and improved health was relatively quite 

In the great majority of cases the toll of the major killing 
diseases of the nineteenth century decHned dramatically before 
the discovery of medical cures and even immunization. Tubercu- 
losis, the Great White Plague, was one of the dread diseases of 
the nineteenth century, kilhng 500 people per 100,000 population 
at midcentury and 200 people per 100,000 in 1900. By 1967 the 
U.S. rate had dropped to three deaths per 100,000. This 
tremendous decline was only slightly affected by the introduction 
of collapse therapy in the 1930s and chemotherapy in the 1950s. ^"^ 
Similarly, for England and Wales John Powles shows that overall 
mortality declined over the last hundred years well in advance of 
specific immunizations and therapies." 

Rene Dubos, the microbiologist formerly with the Rockefel- 
ler Institute, succinctly summed up the historical record. "The 
tide of infectious and nutritional diseases was rapidly receding 
when the laboratory scientist moved into action at the end of the 
past century," Dubos wrote in Mirage of Health. "In reahty," he 
observed, "the monstrous specter of infection had become but an 
enfeebled shadow of its former self by the time serums, vaccines, 
and drugs became available to combat microbes."" 

Improvements in general living and working conditions as 
well as sanitation, all brought about by labor struggles and social 
reform movements, are most responsible for improved health 
status. Improved housing, working conditions, and nutrition — 
not medical science — reduced TB's fearsome death toll. Re- 
sponding to riots and insurrections as well as the pitiable living 
conditions of the poor and working classes in Western Europe 
and North America, nineteenth-century reformers brought dra- 

Epilogue I 221 

matic declines in mortality without the benefit of even the germ 

Children have benefited the most from these changes. The 
average baby born in 1900 could have expected to live only 
forty-seven years. A baby born in 1973 can expect to live more 
than seventy-one years. Most of this increased life expectancy at 
birth has been due to a sharp decline in infants' and young 
children's deaths from infectious diseases. At the turn of the 
century young children succumbed to influenza, pneumonia, 
diarrhea, scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough, and measles. 
By 1975 the infant death rate had fallen to sixteen per 1,000 live 
births — less than one-ninth the rate in 1900. And the death rates 
of young children have similarly dechned.^^ Improved housing, 
nutrition, water supplies and waste disposal, pasteurization of 
milk, and the virtual elimination of child labor (except for 
migrant farm workers) drastically cut the spread of infectious 
diseases and enabled children's bodies to resist them. 


The physical and social environments are just as important in 
determining disease and death rates today as they were historical- 
ly, despite the fact that "degenerative" diseases, such as heart 
disease, cancer, and stroke, have replaced most of the infectious 
diseases as leading causes of death. 

Infant death rates are still strongly influenced by environmen- 
tal factors. Twelve countries — Sweden, East Germany, and 
England among them — have lower infant death rates than the 
United States. Within the United States an infant born to a black 
mother with eight years of schooling or less is three times as likely 
to die before its first birthday as a baby born to a white 
college-educated mother. Although white and black infant death 
rates have decreased in parallel through most of this century, the 
death rate for black infants has remained consistently about twice 
the rate for white babies. And a baby born into a poor family, 
white or black, is much more likely to die than if he or she were 
born into a nonpoor family. ^^ 

Indeed, a person who is poor or nonwhite is more likely to die 
at every age. Nonwhite children die at twice the rate of white 
children. Up to the age of sixty-five, nonwhite male death rates 
exceed white male death rates by 40 to 95 percent, and nonwhite 

222 I Epilogue 

females die at more than twice the rate of white females in most 
age groups.*" The probability of being disabled (temporarily or 
permanently) is negatively related to income and education, but 
positively related to being black.*' The more privileged your 
class, race, education, and occupation, the less likely you are to 
get sick or die at each age.*^ As epidemiologist Warren Winkel- 
stein put it, poverty "remains among the most powerful determi- 
nants of altered health status and clinical disease today. It may 
well be that elimination of poverty in and of itself would 
drastically alter the health status of the population in a favorable 

Environmental and occupational pollutants are also major 
determinants of disease and death rates. Even "normal" levels of 
air pollution have been associated with increased rates of disease. 
Air pollution causes temporary deterioration of lung function and 
increased frequency of lower respiratory tract infections in 
children, in whom smoking and occupational dust exposures are 
assumed to be minimal. Air pollution is also associated with lung, 
stomach, and other forms of cancer, as well as chronic bronchitis 
and asthma.*'^ 

More than 14,000 workers are killed each year in work 
accidents, and between 2.5 million and 5.6 miUion workers suf- 
fer temporarily or permanently disabling injuries on the job. 
Occupation-related diseases are estimated to kill well over 
100,000 persons each year." Even the president of the Blue Cross 
Association has estimated that "31 percent of workers' health 
problems are caused by factors in their environment."** 

Social relations — the patterned ways in which individuals 
relate to one another in society — also have a broad and dramatic 
impact on how healthy people are and how long they live. 
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is associated with the 
stresses of moving to or living in industrialized, urban society; it is 
also related to working at high-pressure jobs and to being poor or 
black.*'' The poor and racial minorities have higher rates of 
alcoholism, mental illness, and homicide, and nonwhites at every 
age die at rates 40 to 100 percent higher than those of whites. 
From birth to old age, males have higher rates of death than 
females, including death from many stress-related diseases, such 
as heart attacks and strokes, and from many nondisease causes of 
death, such as auto accidents, work accidents, homicides, and 

Epilogue I 223 

suicides/* Even whether labor is aUenated or satisfying is related 
to life expectancy. A Department of Health, Education, and 
Welfare task force reported that "in an impressive 15-year study 
of aging, the strongest predictor of longevity was work satisfac- 
tion."^^ Clearly, people's social roles and their positions in the 
social structure have a major impact on their health. 

Health and disease are thus determined by a combination of 
factors. Genetic inheritance is one conditioning factor, and the 
social, economic, and physical environment into which people are 
born and in which they must live are other critical factors. These 
factors determine the person's receptivity to disease as an 
unwitting "host." Whether a person remains healthy or gets sick 
is determined by inheritance, environment, and external "in- 
sults" to the person — bacteria and viruses, chemical and physical 
assaults on the body, social and emotional assaults. 

Technological intervention in this process is very limited. 
Robert Haggerty, a nationally respected pediatrician, recounts 
some of the limitations of children's medicine in the 1970s: 

We do not know how to prevent or treat effectively most of the 
major killing disorders of childhood in the United States. . . . The 
state of knowledge about acute and chronic conditions that usually 
do not kill but impair function for short or long periods is not much 
better. There is little we can now do to prevent or treat specifically 
most acute respiratory infections or chronic handicapping condi- 
tions. '^ 

Efforts to improve medical care in very poor communities 
have had only a slight impact on people's health. A well-known 
project that brought advanced primary care to a Navajo commu- 
nity succeeded in reducing the recurrence of active tuberculosis 
and the prevalence of infections of the middle ear but had little or 
no effect on the pneumonia-diarrhea complex which continued as 
the biggest single cause of illness and death as it had throughout 
the country up to half a century ago. By the end of the ex- 
periment the infant mortality rate for the community remained 
about three times the national average.''^ Other experiments in 
the United States and underdeveloped countries have had similar 

These sobering observations of the limits of medicine and the 
importance of the environment should reduce our enthusiasm for 

224 I Epilogue 

turning to medical science and physicians to cure all our ills. But 
we need not become "therapeutic nihilists"" in the process. 
While we reject the popular mythology that cloaks medicine in 
robes of omniscience, while we reject the unquestioning assump- 
tion that technology can solve all our health problems, we must 
recognize the advances and considerable value of modern med- 
icine. Until the 1930s all but a few drugs were palliatives, at 
best relieving the symptoms of a disease. Sulfonamides were 
developed in the 1930s, penicilHn in the 1940s, and other 
antibiotics in the 1950s. All were major additions to the arsenal of 
physicians in the long-anticipated "war against disease." The 
most rapid development of technical advances in medicine 
occurred from the late 1930s, accelerated during and after the war 
in the 1940s, and peaked in the 1950s. 

Only some medical care, however, has had a significant 
positive impact on the health status of the population. Campaigns 
to immunize the population with polio vaccines, introduced in the 
1950s, have reduced one of the most dread childhood diseases 
from 18,000 cases in 1954 to only six in 1975. Rubella (or 
"German measles"), which in pregnant women can cause devas- 
tating congenital defects in their offspring, was reduced from an 
average of more than 47,000 cases a year before widespread use 
of the vaccine to 16,343 cases in 1975, following even hmited 
immunization of the population. '''* 

Good maternal health services — including prenatal and ma- 
ternal medical care and coordinated social services — provided to 
the entire population could materially reduce infant mortality 
rates. David Kessner and other researchers, who carefully 
studied New York City births in 1968, concluded that adequate 
maternal health services provided to all women in the city would 
have reduced infant mortahty there by one-third. The percentage 
of low-birth-weight infants and infant deaths both decreased as 
the adequacy of maternal health services increased, within 
each racial, socioeconomic, social-risk, and medical-risk group. 
Among college-educated mothers, the infants of those with 
inadequate care were twice as likely to die as the babies of those 
with adequate care. Among black college-educated mothers, the 
infant death rate for those with inadequate maternal care was six 
times as great as the rate for those with adequate care.''^ As 
valuable as good maternal care is, however, one-quarter of the 

Epilogue I 225 

substantial decline in the infant mortality rate in the late 1960s is 
accounted for by women giving birth at lower risk ages (mainly in 
their twenties) and having fewer children.^** 

Thus, comprehensive health services can have a limited but 
positive impact on health status. Some vaccines have substantially 
reduced infectious disease and death rates, although historically 
most have simply accelerated already falling rates. Antibiotics 
and sulfa drugs have also reduced disability and death from 
infectious diseases. Recently developed antibiotics have greatly 
reduced the isolation and convalescence of TB patients. Ade- 
quate maternal care can lower infant mortality rates although 
most of the decHne has been and is still due to improvements 
in environmental conditions and patterns of child-bearing. In 
general, comprehensive primary medical care can help limit the 
progress of disease and help restore a sick or injured child or 
adult to healthy development and functioning. When distributed 
throughout the population, such care can contribute to improving 
the general health status of that population. When combined with 
social reforms— particularly ones that would eliminate the inequi- 
ties of class, the brutality of racism, and the destruction of the 
physical environment — good technological medical care and sup- 
portive personal and social services can reduce the burden of 
disease an individual, a family, or a society must bear. From the 
Progressive era to the present, however, foundation- and gov- 
ernment-sponsored medical research and medical care have been 
narrowly technological and ideologically conservative. 


Up to World War II foundations were the leading force, 
besides the medical profession, shaping the direction of medical 
education and research and, ultimately, medical theory and 
practice. By 1940 the Rockefeller philanthropies alone had 
contributed more than $161 million to medical education and 
medical research.'''' 

Until World War II the federal government's support for 
medical research and education was minor. In 1938 the Public 
Health Service's research budget amounted to only $2.8 million. 
In order to develop and apply medical research to the country's 
war needs, however, the Committee on Medical Research was set 

226 I Epilogue 

up in 1941 in the new Office of Scientific Research and 
Development. By 1944 the committee had received $15 milHon to 
allocate to medical research activities.''* 

After the war federal support for medical education and 
research blossomed. The AMA's opposition to direct financial 
aid for medical education was circumvented by channeling 
Hill-Burton funds to teaching hospitals and turning on the spigot 
of federal support for medical research, both of which the AMA 
approved. The National Institutes of Health became the major 
single source of medical research money. Its research budget 
doubled from $28 million in 1950 to $60 million in 1955, and 
doubled again every two or three years up to 1963. By 1975 total 
federal health research expenditures reached $2.8 billion, sixty 
cents out of every dollar spent by all sources on health research. 
While the federal government's expenditures increased more 
than thirty-six times in this period, philanthropy's contributions 
increased only six times. ''^ 

What was responsible for this astronomical increase in State 
support for technological medicine? Three sets of interests 
benefited from this emphasis on and funding of technological 
medicine — the academic medical profession, the corporate class 
as a whole, and corporate and medical interests that profit from 
medical technology. It was largely these groups that opened and 
sustained the pipeline from the federal treasury to medical 
research and technological development. 


First, an influential medical research elite has grown up 
around medical schools, universities, private research laborato- 
ries, and teaching hospitals and clinics. Medical schools, howev- 
er, have been the main beneficiaries of the foundation and 
government largess for research, receiving the largest share of the 
money and having the greatest influence in the direction and 
organization of medical research. Since World War II medical 
school research funds have increased faster than operating 
income. By 1953, research grants accounted for more than a 
fourth of total U.S. medical school income. Federal support for 
medical school operating and research expenses continued to 
grow, topping $1.4 billion in 1973, most of it in research 

Epilogue I 227 

subsidies. By the late seventies about sixty cents of every dollar 
spent by medical schools were provided by the federal govern- 
ment, three times its share in 1950.*^ 

The ranks of full-time researchers and teachers among 
physicians swelled to match the availability of funds. The 
government, Uke the Rockefeller philanthropies under Frederick 
T. Gates, encouraged the expansion of full-time clinical fac- 
ulty—from 2,200 in 1950 to 24,000 in 1973, a 1,100 percent 
increase! Doctors engaged full-time in medical teaching or 
research increased from less than 2 percent of all physicians in 
1950 to nearly 5 percent in 1973. «^ 

The bonanza of federal dollars bestowed on medical schools 
since World War II fragmented them into collections of virtually 
autonomous departments. Departments and institutes of full- 
time faculty and researchers grew like mushrooms in response to 
one or another funding program. Empires were built by promi- 
nent faculty members who seemed to have a direct line to the 
National Institutes of Health. Medical school and teaching 
hospital administrators, wanting to expand their own domains of 
facilities and staff, courted foundation and government officials 
responsible for doling out research funds as well as the faculty 
who attract the grants and contracts. Faculty members who 
excelled at grantsmanship, rather than those who were the best 
teachers, were favored with money and prestige, and became 
models for medical students.*^ The situation remains unchanged 

Prominent members of this academic medical ehte not only 
control the considerable sums of research money that they 
receive from outside, or extramural, sources; they also have a 
major role in determining who else will receive such funds. 
Moving easily among medical schools, institutes, foundations, 
and government agencies, this national academic elite has be- 
come a formidable interest group. Even by 1927 Hans Zinsser 
complained that the "guidance of medical education is to a 
considerable extent passing out of the hands of the universities" 
and into those of a "superacademic general staff. "*^ 

Following the dictates of their training, their intellectual and 
practical competence, and their material interests, this academic 
medical lobby has promoted technological and curative medical 
research that has focused largely on hospital and medical school 

228 I Epilogue 

clinic patients. They encourage the appropriation of money for 
health research, and they shape the specific research directions 
and programs for which money is given. 

But they and their institutions are dependent on outside 
sources for both capital and operating expenses, and they tend to 
be very responsive to agencies that foot their bills. They have 
been supported by the larger medical profession which benefits 
from the production of knowledge and technique (some of the 
commodities of medical practice), but more fundamental support 
comes from outside the health professions. That support depends 
on the interests and programs of this dependent group coinciding 
with the interests and strategies of economically and politically 
more powerful groups. At first, foundations and then the federal 
government provided that financial support and exercised the 
control that goes with it, just as the AMA's Journal had feared 
and warned the profession against as early as 1901.** 


As in the organization of medical care, foundation and 
government programs in medical research represent the interests 
of the corporate sector of society. From the founding of the 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1901 to the present 
time, substantial sums of corporate wealth have supported 
medical science and its technological applications. In 1975 
foundations contributed $64 milHon, mainly income from their 
corporate investments, to health research while private industry 
itself spent $1,322 million on medical research and develop- 
ment.*^ Even more important has been the strong political 
support by foundation and corporate leaders for increasing 
appropriations from the vast federal treasury. Private wealth 
accounts for only a third of national health research expenditures, 
but it has been influential in generating the other two-thirds from 
the State. 

The reasons for this support include the same considerations 
that led to the founding of the Rockefeller Institute. As we found 
in Chapter 3, Gates and other members of the corporate class 
embraced scientific medicine because it supported their political 
and economic struggles. Technological medicine provides the 
corporate class with a compatible world view, an effective 

Epilogue I 229 

technique, a supportive cultural tool, and a focus on the disease 
process within the body that provides a convenient diversion from 
the health-damaging conditions in which people live and work. 

Continuing its earlier policies, the Rockefeller Foundation 
spearheaded efforts in the 1930s to develop a scientific biological 
perspective in medicine and to integrate chemistry and physics 
with biology. The Rockefeller, Macy, Milbank, and Ford philan- 
thropies also generously supported the development of research 
into mental illness, almost exclusively focused on physiological 
factors with a little behavioral research.*^ 

Like the foundations and individual capitalists earher in the 
century, federal health research has focused on the narrowly 
technical components of disease and death rather than on the 
broader economic and physical environments so central to the 
population's health status. Cancer research is a prominent but 
typical example. Throughout its existence since 1937, the Nation- 
al Cancer Institute (NCI) has sought the key to understanding the 
etiology, cure, and prevention of cancer largely in microbiologi- 
cal research. In 1971 the Nixon administration launched a grand 
"war on cancer," the second leading cause of death, and gave the 
NCI a hefty 62 percent boost in its appropriations for the next 
year, the biggest since a 90 percent increase it received in 1957. 
By 1977 the NCI's annual budget had grown to $815 million — 
three and a half times the pre-"war" level.*'' 

Neither the National Cancer Institute nor the American 
Cancer Society has shown much interest in investigating the 
environmental contribution to cancer. A committee of the NCI's 
National Advisory Cancer Board expressed its "astonishment" 
that the National Cancer Program allocated only 10 percent of its 
budget to this area. In 1975 the NCI expanded its environmental 
carcinogens program to $100 million, an impressive sum except 
that it is only 17 percent of the NCI's budget for the year. This 
miserly proportion devoted to environmental causes of cancer 
seems especially ironic because NCI director Frank J. Rauscher, 
Jr., publicly stated on several occasions the widely substantiated 
view that up to 90 percent of all cancers originate in the 
environment. According to federal health officials, epidemiologi- 
cal evidence demonstrates that at least 20 percent — and perhaps 
40 percent — of all cancer cases are caused by occupational 
carcinogens, the most neglected area of environmental cancer 

230 I Epilogue 

The more dominant lines of research focus on possible viral 
causes, hereditary factors, and immunological defenses in the 
etiology of cancer. The so far unproductive search for a viral 
origin for human cancer cost three-quarters of a billion dollars by 
1977. This and other lines of microbiological research have 
contributed only marginally to improving survival rates for most 
cancer victims. Rausher boasted in 1974, "The 5-year survival 
rate for cancer patients in the 1930s was about 1 in 5. Today, the 
figure is 1 in 3." However, Daniel Greenberg notes, "virtually all 
of this improvement was achieved prior to 1955, which, ironical- 
ly, was when federal spending for cancer research began to 
accelerate to its present level." Greenberg chalks up much of the 
improvement in survival rates through the midfifties to the 
postwar introduction of antibiotics and blood transfusions that 
reduced the death toll due to cancer surgery. "It wasn't that more 
patients were surviving cancer^'' Greenberg asserts, "rather, they 
were surviving cancer operations that previously killed them." In 
Greenberg's view the contributions of chemotherapy, radiation 
therapy, and new surgical techniques have been negligible. ^^ 

Typified by the federal cancer research program, lavish funds 
are available for microbiological investigations of many diseases, 
but relatively scant support is provided for research on occupa- 
tional and other environmental causes. At most, one-sixth of all 
federal health research dollars in 1977 were spent on environmen- 
tal factors. One out of every five working coal miners in the 
United States is a victim of black lung disease (which kills 4,000 
miners each year), and on the average one miner is killed every 
other day in mine accidents. Yet the amount of money per miner 
spent in the United States for studying ways to improve miners' 
occupational health and safety is only one-twentieth of that spent 
in the majority of European countries.'" 

This neglect of occupational and environmental bases of 
disease and death is not primarily due to conspiracy. The medical 
profession is, as we have seen in previous chapters, tied to 
the corporate class. Office-based physicians' median incomes 
reached $63,000 in 1976, placing them in the top few percentiles 
of the society's income structure. '^ Physicians in private practice 
earn their money from a market system of medical commodities, 
encouraging a conservative "free enterprise" political perspective 
and a sympathy for other entrepreneurs in the capitalist system. 

Epilogue I 231 

Medical researchers may be free of the influence of the medical 
commodity marketplace, but to win fame and fortune they must 
obey the rules of the medical research funds "market." Their 
dependence on foundation and government funding agencies 
restricts the range of problems and methods they may investigate 
and constrains their creative intellectual processes as well. The 
malignant neglect of occupational and environmental, social, and 
economic factors in medical research is thus due to the lopsided 
financial support provided for narrow microbiological investiga- 
tions, the financial and class interests of the medical profession, 
mechanistic and reductionist medical theory, and the correspond- 
ingly narrow technical training of physicians. 

Underlying these largely institutional and class factors, how- 
ever, are the deliberate policies of major corporate and political 
institutions. Foundations, corporations, and government agen- 
cies differ among themselves and over time in their financial and 
political support for social versus technical perspectives in 
medicine. But in the long run and at any time they overwhelming- 
ly support technical perspectives that separate health problems 
from their social and political contexts. Their policies reflect a 
general corporate class concern that any excess sickness and 
death not be attributed to the admitted inequahties of capitalist 
society or to the organization of production that places profits 
before environmental protection and workers' health. In addition 
to this broad class interest in legitimation, however, a growing 
interest group within the corporate class has a direct financial 
stake in the dominance of technological medicine. 


The interests of doctors, hospitals, research scientists, and 
medical industrial corporations all coincide in the promotion of 
expensive medical technology. They have built a profitable 
symbiotic relationship based on the commodity system of medical 
care and society's cultural affinity and ideological support for 
technological medicine. 

A recent report of the congressional Office of Technology 
Assessment showed how the introduction of new medical tech- 
nologies creates or expands a market. Most of the risk capital is 
supplied by the government although the profits derived from the 
products of this research are taken by private industry. In 1975 

232 / Epilogue 

the federal government provided about $2.8 billion out of a total 
of $4.6 billion spent on health research and development. State 
and local governments picked up about 5 percent of the total, and 
private nonprofit agencies gave another 5 percent. These public 
and private funding agencies provided almost all the funds for 
basic research, the fundamental laboratory and clinical science 
work that develops new knowledge in medicine. The $1.3 billion 
spent by private industry, together with a healthy chunk of 
government money, went mainly for product development, 
applying knowledge gained from basic research to the creation of 
technologies that can be used in medical care.^^ 

Private industry not only controls the fourth of all this 
research and development money it spends; it also determines 
whether the knowledge generated by basic research will be made 
available as new medical products. Since both kinds of decisions 
are based on the expected profitability of any investment rather 
than on the basis of medical need and safety, it is not surprising 
that drugs and equipment of questionable usefulness and often 
significant danger are produced and that other medically useful 
products fail to be developed. ^^ 

Once a product or service is developed, the major medical 
interest groups determine its market. The commodity's producers 
extol its advantages and push for acceptance and sales. If the 
drug, instrument, or procedure increases the technical effective- 
ness of physicians, it is likely to be ordered by them. If it increases 
the status or incomes of physicians, it is also likely to be used. If 
its availability in a hospital is likely to attract physicians or 
otherwise produce income, hospitals will want to buy it. If 
third-party payers will foot the bill, it is a certain winner. The 
growth of clinical laboratory testing illustrates the effectiveness of 
these market forces. 

Automated blood analyzers, first introduced in the 1950s and 
perfected in the years since, make it possible to perform many 
"extra" tests on a single sample of blood, at a low unit cost but at 
a high aggregate cost. Physicians order increasing numbers of 
tests which were previously considered unnecessary and which 
are, to many analysts, not necessary "for even the most rigorous 
medical practice." Physicians frequently fail to use the results of 
tests they have ordered. As fears of malpractice suits increased, 
doctors began expanding the limits of "defensive medicine," 

Epilogue I 233 

ordering ever larger numbers of tests to protect themselves 
against "litigious" patients. The growth of third-party payment 
programs facihtated increased use of clinical laboratories, and 
hospitals found it economically desirable to expand their labora- 
tory capacities. Between the added fees doctors could charge, the 
economic "necessity" that hospitals felt, the facihtation of 
third-party payments, and the advertising of equipment and 
supply companies, the number of chnical laboratory tests reached 
5 billion in 1975 (an average of twenty-three tests for every 
woman, man, and child in the country) and is increasing by 11 
percent a year. Although automated laboratory equipment is 
expensive — for example, the latest automated blood chemistry 
analyzer (the SMAC 60) costs more than $250,000 — it represents 
only a minute fraction of the costs generated by clinical laborato- 
ry technology. The $375 million spent on laboratory instruments 
in 1975 was only 2.5 percent of the $15 billion bill for clinical 
laboratory testing, most of which went for space, supplies, 
maintenance, personnel, and profits for the laboratories and 

The cost of this and other medical technology in a commodity 
medical care system is enormous and rising at essentially geomet- 
ric rates. Medical technology is estimated to account for half the 
increase in costs of hospital care from 1965 to 1974, a period in 
which hospital expenditures tripled. ^^ 

In the days when Frederick T. Gates dreamed of medical 
research laboratories unlocking nature's secrets, medical technol- 
ogy was a fledgling business. Today the "medical-industrial 
complex" is a huge business that sops up an increasing share of 
national health expenditures for products and services that return 
a handsome profit to manufacturing and sales companies, 
researchers, hospitals, laboratories, and doctors. However, the 
economic return to these interest groups and the political value of 
technological medicine to the corporate class were not enough to 
overcome the serious economic problems caused by medical 
technology in a subsidized market economy. 


As hospitals increased their charges at more than twice the 
rate of inflation in the rest of the economy, as health expenditures 

234 I Epilogue 

took a bigger and bigger bite of national resources and the federal 
budget, as medical fringe benefits consumed more corporate 
income and medical expenses cut into more and more of workers' 
incomes; government, corporate, union, and consumer leaders 
grew critical of the endless expansion of capital-intensive medi- 
cine. Besides demanding regulation of hospital expansion and the 
imposition of cost controls, these groups' political support for the 
expansion of medical technology fell off sharply. The market 
system's tendency to produce and absorb an inordinately expen- 
sive medical technology forced an examination of the value of 
that technology. 

Dr. David Rogers, president of the giant Johnson Founda- 
tion, whose wealth emanates from the medical supply business, 
called for "technologic restraint. "^^ Anne Somers, usually an 
advocate of the hospitals' interests, succinctly summarized the 
case against unlimited expansion of technological medicine: "The 
more advanced and the more effective the technology, the greater 
the overall costs of health care."^'' 

By the midsixties support for continued growth of technologi- 
cal medicine began to wither. Rapidly increasing health expendi- 
tures and the well-documented role of medical technology in 
pushing up those costs darkened the previously bright future for 
medical research and its applications. The war in Vietnam was 
competing for federal tax dollars while the anti-war movement 
and the rapidly growing movement to protect what was left of the 
environment undermined political support for indiscriminate 
technological development. The virtual war in American cities in 
the midsixties, whose demands were articulated by the civil rights 
and black liberation movement, forced increasing appropriations 
for improving inner city services, including medical care. The 
combination of all these factors reduced political support for 
technological medicine — and cut into medical research's share of 
health expenditures. Federal appropriations for health research, 
which had increased 745 percent between 1955 and 1965, 
increased less than a fifth that much in the next ten years. ^^ 

Foundations and the government increased their support for 
the study of medical care delivery problems. They supported 
experiments and reforms that would either lower the costs of 
medical care or improve access to low-technology primary care. 
They also gave new life and prominence to an old medical 

Epilogue I 235 

ideology — one that justified clamping down on medical care 
expenditures and provided a substitute for the legitimizing 
functions performed by the increasingly discredited medical 


At first the criticisms of technological medicine focused on the 
many systemic factors that increased its use. Medical economist 
Victor Fuchs criticized the "technological imperative" in medi- 
cine, the attitude that if something technological can be done for 
a patient, it should be done.^' Fuchs attributed this accelerator 
tendency to the training of physicians, the reimbursement 
insurance system that encourages the use of costly services, drug 
and medical supply companies pushing their products, and 
pressure from patients. 

Disenchantment with medicine's technical effectiveness, or 
rather its ineffectiveness and its dangers, reinforced the attack on 
medical technology that began with medicine's fiscal problems. 
Doubts about all this emphasis on medical technology spread 
from a small coterie of academic critics in the 1950s to the highest 
policy circles of government and foundations in the 1970s. In the 
latter half of the fifties, Rene Dubos^°° and a handful of other 
observers were pointing out the futility of relying on medicine to 
cure the ills created by social and physical environments. In the 
seventies Jesuit priest and social philosopher Ivan IUich,^°^ 
Canadian Health and Welfare Minister Marc Lalonde,^"^ and 
others ^°^ criticized medicine for the disease it breeds, for its 
relatively small positive impact on health status and disease rates, 
and for extending its domain of control to more and more of our 
social and personal relations. 

One outcome of this criticism was the belief that what doctors 
and medical technology were doing badly, we could do better for 
ourselves. Critics of medicine advocated individual "self-help" as 
a source of liberation from professional and technological 
control. Many of them, however, extended this position to 
identify individuals as the greatest dangers to their own health. A 
large-scale study of health behavior in CaUfornia supported the 
view that a person's "lifestyle" is a powerful determinant of his or 

236 / Epilogue 

her health status. ^""^ Fuchs, ignoring contrary epidemiological 
evidence, asserts that "the greatest potential for reducing coro- 
nary disease, cancer, and the other major killers still lies in 
altering personal behavior. "'"^ A host of other academic health 
researchers and writers and members of the growing "holistic" 
health movement fastened on the individual as the core of health 
problems. ^°^ Perhaps the ultimate absurdity of this position 
blames lead poisoning of young children in low-income neighbor- 
hoods on maternal deprivation ^""^ and "permissive socialization of 
oral behavior" ^°^ — instead of on landlords who fail to remove the 
lead-based paint peeling from walls of their rental units and to 
repaint with lead-free paint now required by law. 

These arguments quickly caught the attention of major health 
policy makers. Walter McNerney, president of the Blue Cross 
Association, argues. 

We must stop throwing an array of technological processes and 
systems at lifestyle problems and stop equating more health services 
with better health. . . . people must have the capability and the will 
to take greater responsibility for their own health. 


Technological medicine is becoming prohibitively expensive, 
but victim blaming is cost-effective. "The cost of sloth, gluttony, 
alcoholic intemperance, reckless driving, sexual frenzy, and 
smoking have now become a national, not an individual, respon- 
sibility, all justified as individual freedom," asserts Dr. John 
Knowles, the influential president of the Rockefeller Foundation. 
"But one man's or woman's freedom in health is now another 
man's shackle in taxes and insurance premiums." Knowles sternly 
warns that "the cost of individual irresponsibility in health has 
become prohibitive. "'^° Fuchs attacks what he sees as "a 
'resolute refusal' to admit that individuals have any responsibility 
for their own distress. "''' And Leon Kass, denying that health or 
health care is a ri^ht, proclaims that "health is a duty, that one 
has an obhgation to preserve one's own good health." Kass, a 
professor of medicine and bioethics, goes on to condemn 
"excessive preoccupations with health" such as "when cancer 
phobia leads to government regulations that unreasonably restrict 
industrial activity or personal freedom.""^ 

Individual failure has long been used to explain why the poor 
and racial minorities use many physician and dental health 
services, especially preventive ones, less than more affluent 

Epilogue I 237 

groups do. Health professionals and their academic colleagues 
often conclude that low utilization reflects inadequate knowledge 
of the importance of preventive and early illness care and 
insufficient motivation to use them.^^^ "Under-utilization" and 
disapproved lifestyles are, in this view, individual failings which 
can perhaps be remedied by educational programs — an opportun- 
ity for professional intervention to teach the poor "correct" 
health habits and the importance of health services. 

Attitudes do influence health behavior, but there is substan- 
tial evidence that when racial minorities and the poor have 
accessible and comprehensive medical services, their utilization 
rates are similar to those of the general population. '^"^ This 
evidence supports the argument that the lower use of such health 
services is the result of structural and functional problems in the 
services themselves rather than disfunctions in the potential 

Victim blaming has been used not only to explain lower 
utilization by the poor but as a way of decreasing the use of health 
services by Medicaid recipients. In order to cut the escalating 
costs of Medicaid programs, the Nixon administration and 
conservative governors created barriers to the use of services. 
Setting limits on physician and dentist visits, especially for 
preventive care, and setting up bureaucratic delays for hospitali- 
zation (such as requiring physicians to obtain prior authorization 
before admitting a Medicaid patient to the hospital), the State 
made the "beneficiaries" of its programs pay for the market 
system's fiscal problems. ^'^ Similarly, Medicare patients have 
been forced to pay higher deductibles and copayments in order to 
encourage them to spend less on their care. With the recent 
campaign of putting increasing responsibihty on the individual, 
the working and middle classes, as well as the poor, are being 
blamed for getting sick in the first place. 

The prospects of national health insurance raised fears that 
further socializing the costs of medical care would only esca- 
late the "technological imperative." Rather than question the 
decades-old policy of rationalizing the private medical market, 
health policy makers focus instead on the individuals who dare to 
succumb to the hazards of life in our society. Paying little more 
than lip service to the need to do something about the physical 
environment and social and economic conditions that are known 
to breed disease, they settle on an ideological position that is less 

238 I Epilogue 

threatening to the capitalist society of which they are important 
members. Technological medicine was proving a costly hardware 
system whose legitimacy has been undermined. Victim blaming 
is a cheap and ideologically safe software alternative. 

However, the victim-blaming strategy is generating opposi- 
tion. Some public health officials have spoken out against this 
perspective. "For the vast majority of people in our society," 
argued C. Arden Miller as president of the American Public 
Health Association, "the life circumstances leading to poor 
health are not adopted as a matter of personal choice, but are 
thrust upon people by the social and economic circumstances into 
which they are born.""* Opposition is also developing in the 
labor movement to screening workers for at-risk health habits 
and "sensitivity" or "susceptibility" to occupational carcinogens, 
and to the barring of fertile women from hazardous jobs in the 
lead and chemical industries instead of eliminating the hazards 
from the workplace."'' 

An alternative to victim blaming and narrowly technological 
approaches to environmentally generated disease is an "ecologi- 
cal" strategy. In this model, health workers analyze the different 
factors that contribute to a health problem and, then, with the 
people affected develop social and political, as well as medical- 
technical, strategies for changing them."* Individually oriented 
curative medicine is obviously needed because human beings are 
not perfectly adapted to any physical or social environment. But 
health care should do more than apply a band-aid to the wounds 
created by disharmony between people and environment. Much 
of this disharmony is the result of exploitation of the physical and 
social environment for profit, a process in which cancer caused by 
occupational and environmental pollution, high blood pressure 
due to stress, and excessively high death rates related to poverty 
and racism are considered "social costs" of production. However, 
political pressure can be developed to change these conditions 
and, ultimately, to reorganize production around social needs 
rather than the private accumulation of capital. 


American society is faced with a health system that is at once 
expensive and incapable of serving the important health needs of 

Epilogue I 239 

the population. Despite many decades of efforts to make 
medicine more effective and improve its accessibility, the system 
seems to remain impervious to fundamental change. The reform 
efforts, however, are themselves fundamentally flawed. 

From the early Rockefeller medical philanthropies to the 
opening of the federal treasury to the health sector, the major 
strategy for making medicine more effective has been biomedical 
research and the development of technological medicine. Techni- 
cal advances have been very great, but the results have not been 
distributed equitably, coordinated rationally with needed primary 
care, or matched with support for improvements in the physical 
and social environments. Technique has also increasingly re- 
placed personal caring and emotional support in doctor-patient 
relationships. As we have seen, these emphases have had only a 
limited positive impact on the health of the population. The 
persistence of such narrowly technical approaches is due to their 
usefulness to powerful classes and interest groups. For members 
of the corporate class, technological medicine has legitimized 
their economic and political dominance by diverting attention 
from the consequences of their control — that is, from such "social 
costs" as class inequalities, domination based on race or sex, 
occupational hazards, and environmental degradation. For the 
medical profession, the knowledge generated by medical science 
and the techniques of medical technology provided the basis for 
physicians' claims to a monopoly of authority over the practice of 
medicine. Over the last few decades medical technology has been 
the foundation of a whole new industry, an interest group that 
directly profits from the emphasis on technical approaches to 
health problems. Technological medicine has benefited all these 
groups, and they have, in turn, supported its expansion. 

The Rockefeller philanthropies also began the long process of 
rationalizing medical care. This campaign has been joined by 
groups in and outside the health sector and has been increasingly 
supported by the State over the last several decades. The political 
power of the medical profession was strong enough to block early 
efforts at subordinating all elements of the system into a 
hierarchy of organizational authority. So pieces of the rationaliz- 
ing strategy were implemented where there was least resistance. 
Voluntary health insurance programs — private and later public 
ones — were developed mainly around hospital care, financing the 

240 I Epilogue 

expansion of high technology medicine with the hospital at its 
center. The rationalizing of the private medical market helped 
the growth of the capital-intensive medical commodity sector, 
which has a major stake in technological medicine. The private 
control of this market, the emphasis on medical technology, and 
the socializing of costs by third-party payers combined to make 
expenditures soar, compounding government fiscal problems and 
draining ever-increasing amounts of money from the economy. 

Medicine's upper-class reformers, from Gates and his founda- 
tion colleagues to present-day officials of the State, have been 
unwilling to oppose the private market in its entirety, producing a 
profound contradiction in their struggles to rationalize medicine. 
They favored the development of the private market with 
legislative and financial support in lieu of nationalizing medical 
care. The present crisis is a result of this political-economic 
process. It was an inevitable outcome only in that those who 
shaped the system believed in, or at least accepted, the needs and 
constraints of capitalist economic and social relations. If Gates 
and subsequent foundation and government leaders in the field of 
medicine had been committed to making health care serve the 
needs of the majority population rather than the needs of 
capitalism and the interests of the corporate class, a different 
course would have been followed. Even today a comprehensive, 
centrally planned nationalized health service could effectively 
control cost and provide equal care for the whole population. 
Health care could be more effective in improving health if its 
research and action were directed at environmental conditions in 
about the same proportion that those conditions contribute to 
sickness and death. 

But health policy makers cannot be counted on to make these 
fundamental changes. As members of the corporate class or 
identified with its interests, they believe, to paraphrase Charles 
Wilson's audacious aphorism, "what's good for business is good 
for America." Furthermore, the capitalist sector of medicine has 
grown rich and powerful, bringing the economic and political 
influence of insurance companies, banks, and industrial corpora- 
tions into active support for retaining the private medical market. 
National health insurance is supported because it will further 
socialize the costs of medicine, but nationalizing medicine in a 
national health service is unacceptable to the powerful private 

Epilogue I 241 

market forces and therefore is ignored by health pohcy makers. 
Instead of overhauHng the medical system, they put the burden of 
controlling costs on people who have been afflicted with disease 
by restricting their access to services and demanding that they 
improve their health by changing their behavior. 

However, even a national health service would not necessarily 
end medicine's role of legitimizing corporate capitalist society. It 
would, if anything, enable these ideological functions to compete 
less with the needs of the marketplace. Without the access 
problems that remain in the present market system, the "heahng 
ministration," as Gates called medicine, could bring individual- 
focused, technical perspectives and methods to the health prob- 
lems of the entire population. 

Health care, potentially, has a great deal to offer. We 
rightfully expect it to prevent sickness, diagnose our ills, relieve 
our pains, and, when we are sick, return us to at least our usual 
level of functioning. If it were not distorted by its character as a 
commodity and by the ideological functions demanded of it, 
health care might well be developed as we wish it would. It is 
possible to make a health care system that effectively serves the 
health needs of the majority classes rather than the economic and 
political interests of its providers and the upper classes. It is 
doubtful, however, that such a health care system can be realized 
in a capitalist society, committed as it must be to maintaining the 
primacy of capital accumulation. Nevertheless, the struggle for 
that new health system may contribute to the larger struggle for a 
new, more just economic and social order. 


The Journal of the American Medical Association is abbreviated 
throughout as JAMA. 


1. New York Times, April 26, 1977. 

2. Ivan lUich, Medical Nemesis, The Expropriation of Health (New York: 
Pantheon, 1976). 

3. See, for example, Rene Dubos, Mirage of Health (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor 
Books, 1959); Marc Lalonde, A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians 
(Ottawa: Government of Canada, 1974); A. L. Cochrane, Effectiveness and 
Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services (London: Nuffield Provincial 
Hospital Trust, 1972); Rick J. Carlson, The End of Medicine (New York: John 
Wiley, 1975); Howard B. Waitzkin and Barbara Waterman, The Exploitation of 
Illness in Capitalist Society (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974); and John 
Ehrenreich, ed.. The Cultural Crisis of Modern Medicine (New York: Monthly 
Review Press, 1978). 

4. David Mechanic, The Growth of Bureaucratic Medicine (New York: John 
Wiley, 1976), p. 42; and his Politics, Medicine, and Social Science (New York: 
John Wiley, 1974), chap. 3. 

5. Illich, Medical Nemesis, p. 211. 

6. See the excellent critique of industrialism and technological determinism in 
Robin Blackburn, "A Brief Guide to Bourgeois Ideology," in A. Cockbumand 
R. Blackburn, eds.. Student Power (Baltimore: Penguin, 1969), pp. 163-213; 
the brief discussion in David Noble's illuminating book, America by Design — 
Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism (New York: Knopf, 
1977), especially the introduction; and Vicente Navarro's critique of industrial- 
ism in his review of lUich's work, in Navarro, Medicine Under Capitalism (New 
York: Prodist, 1976), pp. 103-31. 

7. William Weinfield, "Income of Physicians, 1929-1949," Survey of Current 
Business, 31 (July 1951), 11; and Maurice Leven, The Incomes of Physicians: An 
Economic and Statistical Analysis, Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, 
Publication no. 24 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932), p. 88. 

8. Zachary Y. Dyckman, A Study of Physicians' Fees (Washington, D.C.: 
President's Council on Wage and Price Stability, March 1978), pp. 74-75 ;Harris 
polls reported in Newsweek, Dec. 10, 1973, p. 45, and New York Times, June 
12, 1977, p. 55. See also Navarro, Medicine Under Capitalism, pp. 135-69. 

9. On physician dominance, see Victor R. Fuchs, Who Shall Live? Health, 

244 I Notes to Pages 6-19 

Economics, and Social Choice (New York: Basic Books, 1974), chap. 3; Eliot 
Freidson, Profession of Medicine: A Study of the Sociology of Applied 
Knowledge (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1970); and Barbara Ehrenrei- 
chand John Ehrenreich, "Medicine and Social Control," in J. Ehrenreich, ed.. 
Cultural Crisis, pp. 39-79. 

10. Herman M. Somers and Anne R. Somers, Doctors, Patients, and Health 
Institutions: The Organization and Financing of Medical Care (Washington, 
D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1961), p. 42; Physician Distribution and Medical 
Licensure in the United States, 1974 (Chicago: AMA, 1975), p. 66; and Harry T. 
Paxon, "Why Wesley Hall Ripped into the AMA Hierarchy," Medical Econ- 
omics, Jan. 3, 1972, pp. 25-^2, 101. 

11. Robert Alford, Health Care Politics: Ideological and Interest Group Barriers to 
Reform (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975). 

12. Anne R. Somers, Health Care in Transition (Chicago: Hospital Research and 
Educational Trust, 1971), chap. 3, presents the AHA p>oint of view. 


1. The best biography of Carnegie is Joseph Frazier Wall, Andrew Carnegie (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1970). 

2. Of the numerous biographies of Rockefeller, I have relied mainly on Allan 
Nevins, John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise, 2 vols. 
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940); and Peter Collier and David 
Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (New York: Holt, Rinehart 
and Winston, 1976), pp. 1-73. The former book is the most detailed, but the 
latter puts his Hfe into perspective and examines it somewhat critically. 

3. On the changing class structure resulting from industrialization during the 
nineteenth century, see William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American 
History (Cleveland: World Pubhshing Co., 1961); and Robert H. Wiebe, The 
Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967). 

4. Williams, Contours, pp. 315, 333. See also Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. 
Morais, Labor's Untold Story, 3rd ed. (New York: United Electrical, Radio, 
and Machine Workers of America, 1972). 

5. John D. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences of Men and Events (New York: 
Doubleday, Page and Co., 1909), pp. 141^2. 

6. Ibid., p. 158. 

7. Quoted in Edward Chase Kirkland, Dream and Thought in the Business 
Community, 1860-1900 (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1964; originally pub- 
lished 1956), p. 165. 

8. Hanna quote from M. A. Hanna to J. D. Rockefeller, Sept. 8, 1885, 
Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 1. On Hanna's role in building 
poUtical capitalism, see Williams, pp. 349, 360-62, 381. On the development of 
close ties between the executive branch and private industry and finance, see 
Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American 
History, 1900-1916 (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1967; originally published 
1963); and on the further development of this corporate liberal program of 
reforming government to serve the needs of monopolistic industry, see James 
Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Boston: Beacon 
Press, 1968). 

9. Correspondence between Hanna and Rockefeller, 1885 to 1892, Rockefeller 
Family Archives, record group 1. 

Notes to Pages 20-31 I 245 

10. For a brief view of how the wealthiest Americans lived in this period and 
complaints and defenses regarding their ostentation, see Kirkland, Dream and 
Thought, chap. 2. 

11. For an uncritical historical survey of philanthropy in the United States, see 
Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy (Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 1960); the Mather and Frankhn quotes are from pp. 12-17. 

12. Ibid., pp. 96-99. 

13. Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: Beacon 
Press, 1955); quote from Spencer on p. 41. 

14. See, for example, any of the Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities 
and Correction for this period; Amos G. Warner, American Charities, rev. ed. 
(New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1919; originally published 1894); and Frank D. 
Watson, The Charity Organization Movement in the United States: A Study in 
American Philanthropy (New York: Macmillan, 1922) — all representative of 
this movement. 

15. Edward T. Devine, "The Dominant Note of the Modern Philanthropy," 
Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction (1906), p. 3. 

16. Warner, American Charities, pp. 28, 46-47. 

17. Anthony Piatt, The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1969), pp. 35-36. 

18. Quoted in Howard S. Miller, Dollars for Research: Science and Its Patrons in 
Nineteenth-Century America (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1970), 
pp. 159-60. 

19. Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: Signet/Macmillan, 
1961; originally published 1910), p. 299; quoted in Piatt, Child Savers, pp. 

20. On the development of public schools, see Michael B. Katz, Class, Bureaucra- 
cy, and Schools— The Illusion of Educational Change in America (New York: 
Praeger Publishers, 1971); and Joel H. Spring, Education and the Rise of the 
Corporate State (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972). 

21. Hamilton A. Hill, Memoir of Abbott Lawrence (Boston: "Printed for Private 
Distribution," 1883); p. 108. 

22. Ibid., p. 109. 

23. See Harry Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work 
in the Twentieth Century (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974), pp. 125-37. 

24. Miller, Dollars for Research, p. 7. 

25. Ibid., pp. 3-8. 

26. Merle Curti and Roderick Nash, Philanthropy in the Shaping of American 
Higher Education (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1965), pp. 

27. Ibid., pp. 69-70. See also Frederick Rudolph, The American College and 
University: A History (New York: Vintage Books, 1965), pp. 222-31. 

28. Curti and Nash, Philanthropy, pp. 64-65. 

29. Elbert Vaughan Wills, The Growth of American Higher Education— Liberal, 
Professional, and Technical (Phila.: Dorrance and Co., 1936), p. 147. 

30. Curti and Nash, Philanthropy, p. 135. 

31. Ibid., pp. 64-65, 112-14. 

32. "Wealth," North American Review, 148 (June 1889), 653-64; and 149 (Dec. 
1889), 682-98; reprinted in Andrew Carnegie, Gospel of Wealth and Other 
Timely Essays (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962), pp. 14-49. 

33. Quoted in Wall, Carnegie, pp. 812-13. 

246 I Notes to Pages 31^3 

34. For gifts given by Carnegie in his lifetime and bequeathed by him at his death, 
see A Manual of the Public Benefactions of Andrew Carnegie (Washington, 
D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1919). 

35. Wall, Carnegie, pp. 806-12. 

36. Manual of the Public Benefactions. 

37. The account of Rockefeller's life is taken from Nevins, Rockefeller; and Collier 
and Horowitz, Rockefellers, pp. 1-73. 

38. Quoted in Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 177. 

39. Quoted in Collier and Horowitz, Rockefellers, p. 48. 

40. A detailed and readable account of the development of the University of 
Chicago is found in Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 191-227. 

41. Ibid., 213-14. 

42. Ibid., 213-14,627, 266. 

43. Ibid., 269, 427; and Collier and Horowitz, Rockefellers, pp. 45-47. 

44. Gates describes the meeting with Rockefeller in his Autobiography. At the time 
this book was researched and written. Gates' autobiography was an unpublished 
typescript in the Rockefeller Foundation Archives. It has since been published 
as Chapters in My Life (New York: Free Press, 1977). I continue to use the 
citation "Gates, Autobiography," referring to the typescript pages. Gates' 
meeting with Rockefeller is also recounted in detail in Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 

45. Gates, Autobiography, p. 342; and quoted in Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 268. 

46. Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 268. 

47. Gates, Autobiography, pp. 342-45. 

48. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences, p. 116; Allan Nevins, A Study in Power: 
John D. Rockefeller, Industrialist and Philanthropist (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1953), II, 197; and Gates, Autobiography, p. 366. 

49. Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 274-81; and Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences, p. 

50. Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 279-81. 

51. Ibid., 274; and Gates, Autobiography. 

52. The only account of Gates' early life is in his Autobiography; it is summarized 
with quotes in Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 269-72. 

53. Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 272-73. 

54. Memo, April 20, 1891, GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

55. Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 282-85; and Gates, Autobiography, p. 375. 

56. Gates, Autobiography, pp. 310-15; F. T. Gates to J. D. Rockefeller, June 12, 
1916, and E. N. Gary to J. D. Rockefeller, May 4, 1909, both in Rockefeller 
Family Archives, record group 2. 

57. Quoted in B. C. Forbes, "How John D. Rockefeller Became America's 
Foremost Organizer and Richest Man," Leslie's, Sept. 29, 1917. See also 
Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences, p. 117. 

58. Details of Junior's life are available in Collier and Horowitz, Rockefellers, pp. 
75-178. The period of his entry to his father's office is described on pp. 87-92. 

59. Gates, Autobiography, pp. 517-18; Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 289. 

60. Raymond Fosdick, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., A Portrait (New York: Harper and 
Bros., 1956), p. Ill; Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 290. 

61 . Raymond Fosdick, The Story of the Rockefeller Foundation (New York: Harper 
and Bros., 1952), p. 2. 

62. For the authorized and largely uncritical histories of the Rockefeller philanthro- 
pies, see Fosdick's history of the Rockefeller Foundation, cited above, and his 
Adventure in Giving: The Story of the General Education Board (New York: 
Harper and Row, 1962); George W. Comer, A History of the Rockefeller 

Notes to Pages 43-47 I 247 

Institute— 1901-1953 (New York: Rockefeller Institute Press, 1964); and Greer 
Williams, The Plague Killers (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969), about 
the worldwide public health programs. For more critical views, see Harry 
Cleaver, Jr., "The Origins of the Green Revolution," unpublished doctoral 
dissertation, Stanford University, 1975; E. Richard Brown, "Public Health in 
Imperialism: Early Rockefeller Programs at Home and Abroad," American 
Journal of Public Health, 66 (1976), 897-903; Collier and Horowitz, Rockefel- 
lers; and the following chapters in this book. 

63. Quoted in Nevins, Rockefeller, II, 291. 

64. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences, pp. 159-60. 

65. See F. Emerson Andrews, Philanthropic Giving (New York: Russell Sage 
Foundation, 1950); Warren Weaver, U.S. Philanthropic Foundations— Their 
History, Structure, Management, and Record (New York: Harper and Row, 
1967); and Bremner, American Philanthropy. 

66. See Franklin Parker, George Peabody, A Biography (Nashville: Vanderbilt 
University Press, 1971), pp. 160-67, on the founding of the Peabody Fund; and 
see Jessie Pearl Rice, J. L. M. Curry — Southerner, Statesman, and Educator 
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1949), pp. 159-75, on Curry's role in 
Southern education funds. 

67. Lx)uis R. Harlan, Separate and Unequal: Public School Campaigns and Racism 
in the Southern Seaboard States, 1901-1915 (Chapel Hill: University of North 
Carolina Press, 1958), discusses the Southern Education Board, pp. 75-101. 
Some of the important contributions to the board's total income, $400,000 in the 
thirteen years of its existence, came from George Foster Peabody, Andrew 
Carnegie, Rockefeller's General Education Board, Frank R. Chambers of New 
York, the Russell Sage Foundation, and Robert C. Ogden. 

68. Hugh C. Bailey, Liberalism in the New South — Southern Social Reformers and 
the Progressive Movement (Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami Press, 
1969), p. 138. 

69. Harlan, Separate and Unequal, pp. 75-101; Bailey, Liberalism, pp. 75-76; 
Lawrence A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School — Progressivism in 
American Education, 1876-1957 (New York: Knopf, 1961), pp. 23-57. Wash- 
ington was financially supported by Northern businessmen and Southern 
liberals; he was hired as an agent of the SEB though he was never allowed to 
attend a board meeting. More assertive black leaders denounced the Hampton 
model of industrial schooling for blacks. W. E. B. DuBois pointed out that 
exclusive support of industrial schooling emphasized blacks' duties and put their 
rights into the background. "Take the eyes of these millions off the stars and 
fasten them in the soil," he mockingly told a Hampton audience, and let their 
dreams be of "com bread and molasses." DuBois, The Education of Black 
People, ed. H. Aptheker (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1973), 
p. 9. 

70. Quoted in Cleaver, "Origins of the Green Revolution." 

71. Fosdick, Adventure in Giving, pp. 10-11. SEB member William H. Baldwin, 
president of the Long Island Railroad, argued that blacks "will willingly fill the 
more menial positions, and do the heavy work, at less wages," leaving to whites 
"the more expert labor," Harlan, Separate and Unequal, p. 78, 75-101. 

72. Fosdick, Rockefeller, Jr., pp. 117-18. 

73. Memorandum in Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 

74. Copy of press release in Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 

75. Harlan, Separate and Unequal, pp. 75-101; Frissell quoted on p. 86. 

76. Fosdick, Adventure in Giving, pp. 10-11; Buttrick to Gates, Oct. 14, 1904; 
confidential report of Jerome D. Greene, Wallace Buttrick, and Abraham 

248 I Notes to Pages 47-56 

Flexner, Oct. 22, 1914; Raymond B. Fosdick, Wickliffe Rose, and James 
Diliard, report of special committee on programs and policies, Oct. 6, 1922, all 
in GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. The GEE greatly influenced 
several other foundations that worked in the Southern education movement; 
e.g., see Abraham Flexner, Abraham Flexner: An Autobiography (New York: 
Simon and Schuster, 1960), p. 274; this is a revision of his autobiography 
published in 1940 as / Remember. 
11. Gates, Autobiography, pp. 460-64; Gates to Wickliffe Rose, Aug. 21, 1914, 
Rockefeller Sanitary Commission files; R. B. Fosdick, W. Rose, and J. Diliard, 
report of special committee on programs and pwlicies, Oct. 6, 1922, GEB files; 
Annual Report of the General Education Board, 1921-1922, pp. 42, 65. 

78. See Brown, "Public Health in Imperialism." 

79. Gates, Autobiography, p. 460. 

80. Gates to Rockefeller, June 3, 1905, Gates papers. Rockefeller Foundation 

81. Gates, Autobiography, pp. 440-42. 

82. Current Literature, 42 (1909), 253-54; Gates to Rockefeller, Aug. 9, 1907, 
Gates papers. 

83. Gates, "Some Reflections on Questions of Policy," memo to the board, Jan. 23, 
1906. GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

84. William S. Vickery, "One Economist's View of Philanthropy," in F. G. 
Dickerson, ed.. Philanthropy and Public Policy (New York: National Bureau of 
Economic Research, 1962), p. 31. 

85. Wall, Carnegie, p. 828. 

86. The origins and early years of the Carnegie Foundation are described in Burton 
J. Hendrick, The Life of Andrew Carnegie (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 
Doran, and Co., 1932), vol. 2, 263-64; and Wall, Carnegie, pp. 869-79. 

87. Henry S. Pritchett, "Introduction" to Abraham Flexner, Medical Education in 
the United States and Canada, Bulletin no. 4 (New York: Carnegie Foundation 
for the Advancement of Teaching, 1910), p. vii. See also A. Flexner, Henry S. 
Pritchett, A Biography (New York: Columbia University Press, 1943), p. 96. 

88. Phone conversation quoted in Buttrick to Gates, March 30, 1906; see also 
Buttrick to Pritchett, March 31, 1906, and April 16, 1906; and Pritchett to 
Buttrick, April 5, 1906. and Jan. 4, 1909, all in GEB files. Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. See also Pritchett to Buttrick, Feb. 3, 1911, Feb. 6, 1911, 
Nov. 12, 1915, and Nov. 24, 1916; and Buttrick to Pritchett, Feb. 8, 1911, and 
Dec. 1, 1916; and Pritchett to Gates, Nov. 12, 1915, all in Carnegie Foundation 

89. Gates to Rockefeller, June 6, 1905, Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 

90. W. Buttrick to H. S. Pritchett, May 29, 1917, Carnegie Foundation files; A. 
Flexner, "Supplement to the Gedney-Farm Memorandum," March 31, 1924, 
GEB files, Rockefeller Foundation Archives. A. Flexner, Autobiography, pp. 
127, 129. 

91. Fosdick, Rockefeller, Jr., pp. 143-87; and Collier and Horowitz, Rockefellers, 
pp. 109-34. 

92. Charles P. Howland to Raymond B. Fosdick, Jan. 28, 1927, Rockefeller 
Foundation files; A. Flexner to W. Buttrick, Aug. 3, 1925, GEB files; A. P. 
Stokes to W. Rose. May 2, 1928, and Edwin R. Embree to George Vincent, 
May 7, 1928, GEB files; memos by Edwin Embree about 1932, Edwin Embree 
papers — all Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

93. Gates, memo to himself, Nov. 20, 1911, Rockefeller Family Archives, record 
group 2. 

Notes to Pages 56-64 I 249 

94. Rockefeller, Jr., to Rockefeller, Dec. 31, 1906, Rockefeller Family Archives, 
record group 2. 

95. Gates, memo to GEB, Nov. 1911, Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 

96. University of Chicago relationship described and letter quoted in Nevins, 
Rockefeller, II, 230-31, 246, 265-M, 627. 

97. Gates to George Foster Peabody, March 20, 1912, Rockefeller Family Ar- 
chives, record group 2; Annual Report of the General Education Board, 1924- 
1925, p. 5; A. Flexner, Autobiography, p. 209. 

98. Williams, Contours, pp. 352-53. An illustration of the profitable use of 
managers comes from Carnegie's career. In 1873 Carnegie hired Captain 
WiUiam Jones to run his steel mill, and it was largely Jones who kept the 
company's costs below and its profits above those of its competitors. Jones 
introduced technical innovations that he personally designed, and he maintained 
relatively stable relations with his workers despite the intolerably exploitative 
wages and working conditions he and the company imposed on them. He 
worked the men under him twelve hours a day, seven days a week in mills where 
temperatures frequently topped 100°, but he also understood the necessity of 
setting some floor below which wages would not be pushed in order to keep his 
workers — a position that Carnegie had difficulty accepting. On Jones' role, see 
Wall, Carnegie, pp. 314-16, 328-29, 344^5. 

99. A. Flexner, Autobiography, p. 109. 


1. Joseph E. Kett, The Formation of the American Medical Profession— The Role 
of Institutions, 1780-1860 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), pp. 9-10. 

2. William G. Rothstein, American Physicians in the Nineteenth Century (Balti- 
more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972), pp. 35-36. 

3. A Maryland physician named Alexander Hamilton complained of the empirics 
he found in his travels through the colonies in 1744. "A great many of them take 
the care of a family for the value of a Dutch dollar a year, which makes the 
practice of physick a mean thing, and unworthy of the application of a 
gentleman." Quoted in Rothstein, American Physicians, p. 35. 

4. L. H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush (Princeton: Princeton 
University Press, 1951), vol. 2, 661. 

5. On lay healers, see Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, Witches, Mid- 
wives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Old Westbury, N.Y.: The 
Feminist Press, 1973); and Kett, Formation. 

6. For a detailed description and discussion of regular medical practice in the first 
half of the nineteenth century, see Rothstein, American Physicians, pp. 41-62. 

7. On the Popular Health Movement and some of its component groups, see 
Richard H. Shryock, "Sylvester Graham and the Popular Health Movement, 
1830-1870," in Shryock, Medicine in America, Historical Essays (Baltimore: 
Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), pp. 111-25; and Ehrenreich and English, Witches, 
pp. 22-25. On licensing, see Shryock, Medical Licensing in America, 1650-1965 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967). 

8. See Rothstein, American Physicians, pp. 152-74; and Harris L. Coulter, 
Divided Legacy, 3 vols. (Washington, D.C.: McGrath Publishing Co., 1973). 

9. Rosemary Stevens, American Medicine and the Public Interest (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1971), p. 24. 

10. Rothstein, American Physicians, p. 95. 

11. "Medical Education in the United States," JAMA, 79 (1922), 629-37. 

12. Kett, Formation, p. 179. 

250 I Notes to Pages 65-76 

13. Dr. S. E. Chains, quoted in Gerald E. Markowitz and David K. Rosner, 
"Doctors in Crisis: A Study of the Use of Medical Education Reform to 
Establish Modern Professional Elitism in Medicine," American Quarterly, 25 
(1973), 90. 

14. KoXhslt'm, American Physicians, pp. 120-21. 

15. The Three Ethical Codes (Detroit: Illustrated Medical Journal Co., 1888), p. 31. 
This publication includes codes of ethics of the AMA, the American Institute of 
Homeopathy, and the National Eclectic Medical Society. 

16. Donald E. Konold, A History of American Medical Ethics, 1847-1912 (Madi- 
son: State Historical Society of Wisconsin for the Department of History, 
University of Wisconsin, 1962), pp. 1-24. Regarding the internal and external 
functions of codes of ethics in the medical profession, see Jeffrey L. Berlant, 
Profession and Monopoly (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), 
chap. 3. 

17. Abraham Flexner, Medical Education in the United States and Canada, Bulletin 
no. 4 (New York: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 
1910), p. 14. 

18. A. M. Carr-Saunders, "Professionalization in Historical Perspective," in H. M. 
VoUmer and D. L. Mills, eds., Professionalization (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1966), pp. 3-4. 

19. William J. Goode, "Encroachment, Charlatanism, and the Emerging Profes- 
sions: Psychology, Medicine, and Sociology," American Sociological Review, 25 
(1960), 902-14. 

20. Ernest Greenwood, "Attributes of a Profession," Social Work, 2 (1957), 44-55. 

21. Eliot Freidson, Profession of Medicine: A Study of the Sociology of Applied 
Knowledge (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1970), p. 80. 

22. Harold L. Wilensky, "The Professionalization of Everyone?" American Journal 
of Sociology, 70 (1964), 137-58. 

23. Freidson, Profession, p. 81. 

24. Carr-Saunders, "Professionalization," p. 6. 

25. Everett C. Hughes, "Professions," in Kenneth S. Lynn, ed.. The Professions in 
America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., for American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences, 1965), pp. 2, 3, 9. 

26. Freidson, Profession, pp. 79, 80 (emphasis added). 

27. Henry E. Sigerist, American Medicine (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 
1934), pp. 267-73. 

28. George W. Corner, A History of the Rockefeller Institute— 1901-1953 (New 
York: Rockefeller Institute Press, 1964), pp. 7-8. 

29. Stevens, American Medicine, p. 40. 

30. Sigerist, American Medicine, pp. 273-74. 

31. See, for example, William Allen Pusey, A Doctor of the 1870s and 1880s 
(Springfield, III.: Charles C. Thomas, 1932). 

32. Rothstein, American Physicians, p. 209. 

33. For an illuminating analysis of scientific management, see Harry Braverman, 
Labor and Monopoly Capital — The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth 
Century (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974), pp. 70-138. 

34. John Powles, "On the Limitations of Modern Medicine," Science, Medicine, 
and Man, 1 (1973), 15. 

35. Markowitz and Rosner, "Doctors," 92. 

36. Erwin H. Ackerknecht, A Short History of Medicine (New York: Ronald Press, 
1955), pp. 130-31. 

37. Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years— The United States in 1832, 1849, and 
1866 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962). 

Notes to Pages 76-86 I 251 

38. Corner, Rockefeller Institute, p. 4. See also Edward H. Kass, "Infectious 
Diseases and Social Change," Journal of Infectious Diseases, 123 (1971), 

39. Richard H. Shryock, American Medical Research, Past and Present (New York: 
Commonwealth Fund, 1947), pp. 43-44. See also Corner, Rockefeller Institute, 
pp. 8-9, on rising public interest in and expectations from medical science. 

40. Leonard Keene Hirshberg, "Popular Medical Fallacies," American Magazine, 
62 (1906), 655-60; Harvey Cushing, "Triumphs of Modern Medicine," Educa- 
tion Review, 47 (1914), 86-95; and C.-E. A. Winslow, "The War Against 
Disease," Atlantic Monthly, 91 (Jan. 1903), 43-52. The New York Times (Feb. 
19, 1911) reported on a lecture by Dr. Harvey Wiley, then chief chemist with the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture and later first head of the Food and Drug 
Administration, in which he asserted that in fifty years chemistry will have 
practically eliminated all forms of disease. 

41. See, for example, Charles A. L. Reed, "President's Address," JAMA, 36 
(1901), 1599-1606. 

42. William H. Welch, "Medical Advancement," American Magazine, 6 (1903), 
675; quoted in Markowitz and Rosner, "Doctors," 92. 

43. Elizabeth Bisland, "The Tyranny of the Pill," North American Review, 190 
(1909), 819-25. 

44. Pusey, Doctor. 

45. Fielding H. Garrison, John Shaw Billings, A Memoir (New York: G. P. 
Putnam's Sons, 1915), pp. 256-57. 

46. Richard H. Shryock, The Unique Influence of the Johns Hopkins University on 
American Medicine (Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard, Ltd., 1953), p. 19. 

47. Donald Fleming, William H. Welch and the Rise of Modern Medicine (Boston: 
Little, Brown and Co., 1954), especially p. 21. Welch's letter to his sister is 
quoted in Simon Flexner and James Thomas Flexner, William Henry Welch and 
the Heroic Age of American Medicine (New York: Viking Press, 1941), pp. 

48. Konold, Ethics, pp. 33-35. 

49. Ibid., p. 58. 

50. Rothstein, American Physicians, pp. 292-94. 

51. C. A. L. Reed, "President's Address," JAMA, 36 (1901), 1605. 

52. A. Flexner, Medical Education, pp. 10-11. See also Rothstein, American 
Physicians, p. 19. 

53. "Medical Education in the United States," JAMA, 79 (1922), 629-37. 

54. W. J. Reader, Professional Men — The Rise of the Professional Classes in 
Nineteenth-Century England (New York: Basic Books, 1966), pp. 10-17. 

55. Richard Hofstadter, "The Age of the College," in R. Hofstadter and W. P. 
Metzger, The Development of Academic Freedom in the United States (New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1955), p. 228. 

56. Daniel Drake, Practical Essays on Medical Education and the Medical Profes- 
sion in the United States (Cincinnati: Roff and Young, 1832; reprinted by Johns 
Hopkins Press, 1952), p. 11. 

57. William H. Welch, from an article in Science, quoted in Markowitz and Rosner, 
"Doctors," 95. 

58. Inez C. Philbrick, "Medical Colleges and Professional Standards," JAMA, 36 
(1901), 1700. 

59. Frank Billings, "Medical Education in the United States," President's Address, 
JAMA, 40 (1903), 1271-76. 

60. Quoted in James J. Walsh, History of the Medical Society of the State of New 
York (New York: The Medical Society, 1907), p. 173. 

252 I Notes to Pages 86-94 

61. Bryan, it should be noted, argued not from the needs of the working class nor 
even humanitarian grounds. An early advocate of what has become known as 
the "equal opportunity" doctrine, his argument for including the poorer classes 
in medicine came from his belief that "it is certain the only hope of this country 
for salvation from anarchy is in keeping the doors of higher opportunity open to 
the poorest." From Association of American Medical Colleges, Proceedings of 
the 18th Annual Meeting, Cleveland, March 16-17, 1908, p. 37. 

62. F. C. Shattuck and J. L. Bremer, "The Medical School, 1869-1929," in S. E. 
Morison, ed., The Development of Harvard University, 1869-1929 (Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1930), p. 581. 

63. Quoted in Garrison, Billings, p. 256. 

64. Philbrick, "Medical Colleges," 1700-02. 

65. Rothstein, American Physicians, pp. 230-34. 

66. Kett, Formation, pp. 135-38. 

67. Walter L. Burrage, A History of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 1781-1922. 
(Norwood, Mass.: Plimpton Press, 1923), pp. 426-27; and Konold, Ethics, pp. 

68. Quoted in Rothstein, American Physicians, p. 245 (emphasis added). 

69. Ibid., p. 307. See also. Richard Shryock, Medical Licensing in America, 
1650-1965 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967), pp. 51-52. 

70. Shryock, Medical Licensing, pp. 53-54; Robert C. Derbyshire, Medical 
Licensure and Discipline in the United States (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 
1969), p. 7; Stevens, American Medicine, p. 43; and Berlant, Profession and 
Monopoly, chap. 5. 

71. Rothstein, American Physicians, pp. 307-09. 

72. Reed, "President's Address," 1605. 

73. "Report of the Committee on Medical Ethics," JAMA, 40 (1903), 1379-81. 

74. Reed, "President's Address," 1605. 

75. Rothstein, American Physicians, p. 23. 

76. See, for example, T. McKeown, "A Conceptual Background for Research and 
Development in Medicine," International Journal of Health Services, 3 (1973), 
17-28; and Powles, "Limitations." 

77. Stevens, American Medicine, p. 40. 

78. Edgar Allen Forbes, "Is the Doctor a Shylock?" World's Work, 14 (1907), 

79. B. Ehrenreich and D. English, Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of 
Sickness (Old Westbury, N.Y.: The Feminist Press, 1973). See also their For 
Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women (Garden City, 
N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1978). 

80. H. Bigelow, "The Conservation of Energy and Conservative Gynaecology," 
JAMA, 4 {\8S5),3U. 

81. Quoted in Stevens, American Medicine, p. 50. 

82. Konold, Ethics, pp. 35-37; and "Report of the Committee on Specialties, and 
on the Propriety of Specialists Advertising," Transactions of the AMA, 20 
(1869), 111-13. 

83. Konold, Ethics, pp. 38-40. 

84. Stevens, American Medicine, p. 50. 

85. Figures based on Rothstein's estimate {American Physicians, p. 344) of the 
number of physicians in the United States in 1900 less 5 percent who may have 
been full-time specialists, while the current figure is from Cambridge Research 
Institute, Trends Affecting the U.S. Health Care System (Washington, D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, 1976), pp. 357-66. 

Notes to Pages 94-109 I 253 

86. Stevens, American Medicine, pp. 85-88, 92. 

87. Maurice D. Clarke, "Therapeutic Nihilism," quoted in Rothstein, American 
Physicians, pp. 184-85. 

88. Rothstein, American Physicians, p. 324. 

89. Stevens, American Medicine, p. 134. 

90. On the successful campaign to get rid of midwives, see Frances E. Kobrin, "The 
American Midwife Controversy: A Crisis of Professionalization," Bulletin of the 
History of Medicine, 40 (1966), 350-63. 

91. Morris Fishbein, The New Medical Follies (New York: Boni and Liveright, 
1927), p. 231. 


1. Sander Kelman describes the contradiction that technological medicine posed 
for private practice physicians in their attempt to control the profession in 
"Toward the Political Economy of Medical Care," Inquiry, 8 (Sept. 1971), 

2. Rosemary Stevens, American Medicine and the Public Interest (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1971), pp. 78, 52. On the cost of hospital construction, 
see C. Rufus Rorem, The Public's Investment in Hospitals (Chicago: University 
of Chicago Press, 1930), especially pp. 124-25. 

3. Stevens, American Medicine, p. 145. 

4. Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), pp. 

5. JAMA, 35 (1900), 1353. 

6. Simon Flexner and James Thomas Flexner, William Henry Welch and the 
Heroic Age of American Medicine (New York: Viking Press, 1941), pp. 111-17. 

7. Ibid., pp. 130-34. 

8. Donald Fleming, William H. Welch and the Rise of Modern Medicine (Boston: 
Little, Brown and Co., 1954), conveys the impression that Welch was driven by 
competition. See also S. Flexner and J. T. Flexner, Welch, p. 138. 

9. Fleming, Welch, pp. 65-70; and Flexner and Flexner, Welch, pp. 136, 154, 171. 

10. The account is printed in full as "Recollections of Frederick T. Gates on the 
Origins of the Institute," in George W. Comer's official A History of the 
Rockefeller Institute— 1901-1953 (New York: Rockefeller Institute Press, 1964), 
pp. 575-84. It is extensively relied on by Comer and by Allan Nevins, John D. 
Rockefeller, The Heroic Age of American Enterprise (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1940), vol. 2, 466-70; and Hexner and Flexner, Welch, 269-71. 
I have also quoted and referred to Gates' memo in the following pages. 

11. Comer, Rockefeller Institute, p. 30; and a letter from L. Emmett Holt, quoted in 
T. Mitchell Prudden's unpublished history of the Rockefeller Institute. 

12. Comer, Rockefeller Institute, pp. 30-31. 

13. Ibid., pp. 51-52. 

14. Frederick T. Gates, Autobiography, unpublished ms., 1928, pp. 387-88, Gates 
collection, Rockefeller Foundation Archives; and Comer, Rockefeller Institute, 
p. 49. 

15. Comer, Rockefeller Institute, p. 68. 

16. Ibid., pp. 39-40. 

17. Ibid., pp. 40-41. 

18. John D. Rockefeller to Starr J. Murphy, Dec. 29, 1916, Rockefeller Family 
Archives, record group 2. 

254 I Notes to Pages 110-117 

19. John D. Rockefeller to Starr J. Murphy, July 1, 1919, Rockefeller Family 
Archives, record group 2. 

20. Starr J. Murphy to John D. Rockefeller, July 8, 1919, Rockefeller Family 
Archives, record group 2. 

21. Frederick T. Gates to John D. Rockefeller, Jan. 20, 1911, Gates collection, 
Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

22. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to Starr J. Murphy, July 5, 1919, Rockefeller Family 
Archives, record group 2. 

23. Starr J. Murphy to John D. Rockefeller, Jan. 2, 1917, Rockefeller Family 
Archives, record group 2. 

24. William G. Rothstein, American Physicians in the Nineteenth Century (Balti- 
more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972), pp. 159-60, 234-39. 

25. Quoted in Raymond B. Fosdick, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., A Portrait (New 
York: Harper and Bros., 1956), pp. 111-12. 

26. The McGill appeal is related in Corner, Rockefeller Institute, pp. 70-71. 

27. Gates, "Philanthropy and Civilization," 1923, Gates collection, Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

28. Gates, "Some Elements of an Effective System of Scientific Medicine in the 
United States" (n.d.), Gates collection. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

29. Gates, "Concerning Private Gifts to States and a Medical Policy," Memo to the 
General Education Board, Feb. 26, 1925, Gates collection, Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

30. Gates, "Philanthropy and Civilization." 

31. Gates, "Private Gifts." 

32. Walter Fisher, "Physicians and Slavery in the Ante-bellum Southern Medical 
Journal," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 23 (1968), 

33. Ibid., 37. 

34. Quoted in George M. Frederickson, The Inner Civil War: Northern Intellectuals 
and the Crisis of the Union (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), pp. 102-04. My 
thanks to Michael Cohen for calling my attention to this chapter. 

35. Carnegie quotes himself in Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1920), p. 231. 

36. Quoted in David Brody's excellent study of working conditions, labor organiz- 
ing, and employers, Steelworkers in America: The Nonunion Era (New York: 
Harper and Row, 1969; originally published, 1960), p. 178. See also Stuart D. 
Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 1880-1940 (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1976). 

37. Frederick T. Gates to John D. Rockefeller, Dec. 12, 1910, Rockefeller Family 
Archives, record group 2. See also E. Richard Brown, "Public Heahh in 
Imperialism: Early Rockefeller Programs at Home and Abroad," American 
Journal of Public Health, 66 (1976), 897-903; Greer Williams, The Plague 
Killers (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969); Mary Boccaccio, "Ground 
Itch and Dew Poison: The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission, 1909-1914," 
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 11 (1972), 30-53; and 
James H. Cassedy, "The 'Germ of Laziness' in the South, 1900-1915: Charles 
Warden Stiles and th6 Progressive Paradox," Bulletin of the History of 
Medicine, 45 (1971), 159-69. 

38. May quoted in Tropical Health — A Report on a Study of Needs and Resources 
(Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, 
Publication no. 996, 1962). pp. vii-viii. See also Brown, "Public Health in 
Imperialism," and Williams, Plague Killers. 

Notes to Pages 117-126 I 255 

39. Quoted in "Recent American Opinion in Favor of Health Insurance," 
American Labor Legislation Review, 6 (1916), 347. 

40. Quoted in ibid., 345. 

41. On the history of European sickness insurance programs, see Matthew J. Lynch 
and Stanley S. Raphael, Medicine and the State (Springfield, 111.: Charles C. 
Thomas, 1963). On the social reforms of Progressivism, see James Weinstein, 
The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Boston: Beacon Press, 

42. C. W. Hopkins, "The Hospital Organization of Railway Systems," in Medicine, 
An Aid to Commerce, paper from 40th Annual Meeting of the American 
Academy of Medicine, San Francisco, June 25-28, 1915 (Easton, Pa.: American 
Academy of Medicine, 1916), pp. 149-52. 

43. Charles W. Eliot, "The Qualities of the Scientific Investigator," in Addresses 
Delivered at the Opening of the Laboratories in New York City, May 11, 1906 
(New York: Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 1906), p. 49. 

44. W. H. Welch, "The Benefits of the Endowment of Medical Research," in 
Addresses (Rockefeller Institute), p. 32. 

45. Gates, "Notes on Homeopathy, No. 3," written as a memo to Rockefeller, Sr., 
and circulated approvingly within the Rockefeller philanthropies about 1911, 
Gates collection, Rockefeller Foundation Archives. Gates' quotes on the next 
few pages are taken from this memo. 

46. Gates, "Address on the Tenth Anniversary of the Rockefeller Institute," 1911, 
Gates collection. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

47. F. T. Gates to J. D. Rockefeller, Jan. 31, 1905, Letterbook no. 350, Rockefeller 
Family Archives, record group 1. 

48. J. A. Hobson, Imperialism (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1938; originally 
published 1902). 

49. Described and quoted in a newsletter published for a short time by the 
foundation, "Hospital Ship for the Sulu Archipelago," The Rockefeller Founda- 
tion, Aug. 15, 1916, pp. 1, 14. 

50. George E. Vincent, The Rockefeller Foundation — A Review of Its War Work, 
Public Health Activities, and Medical Education Projects in 1917 (New York: 
Rockefeller Foundation, 1918), pp. 31-32. 

51. For a history of class conflicts over the reform of public schools, see Joel H. 
Spring, Education and the Rise of the Corporate State (Boston: Beacon Press, 
1972); and Michael B. Katz, Class, Bureaucracy, and Schools — The Illusion of 
Educational Change in America (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971). 

52. New London (Conn.) Day, July 10, 1914. 

53. Autobiography, p. 281. 

54. Gates, "Address." Gates had grown very ecumenical indeed: "Rev. Simon 
Flexner, D.D." was Jewish. 

55. Speech reprinted in John B. Roberts, The Doctor's Duty to the State: Essays on 
the Public Relations of Physicians (Chicago: American Medical Association, 
1908), especially p. 20. Roberts was also a member of the AMA Committee on 
Legislation, one of the profession's powerful lobbying units. 

56. Jiirgen Habermas, "Technology and Science as 'Ideology,' " in Habermas, 
Toward a Rational Society — Student Protest, Science, and Politics (Boston: 
Beacon Press, 1971), p. 105. See also Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man 
(Boston: Beacon Press, 1964). 

57. See Samuel Haber, Efficiency and Uplift: Scientific Management in the 
Progressive Era, 1890-1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1964); and Harry 
Braverman's excellent study. Labor and Monopoly Capital — The Degradation of 

256 I Notes to Pages 126-137 

Work in the Twentieth Century (New York and London: Monthly Review Press, 

58. Quoted in Haber, Efficiency and Uplift, p. 20. 

59. A writer of the period quoted in ibid., p. 62. 

60. Nicholas Murray Butler, "Scientific Research and Material Progress," in 
Addresses (Rockefeller Institute), p. 40. 

61. Ibid., p. 39. 

62. Quoted in George Rosen, "The Evolution of Social Medicine," in H. E. 
Freeman, S. Levine, and L. G. Reeder, eds. Handbook of Medical Sociology, 
2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972), p. 39. 

63. Ren6 J. Dubos, "The Gold-Headed Cane in the Laboratory," in Annual 
Lectures, 1953 (Washington, D.C.: National Institutes of Health, 1953), pp. 

64. Gates to Rockefeller, Sr., Oct. 8, 1910, Rockefeller Family Archives, record 
group 2. 

65. Gates, "Philanthropy and Civilization." 

66. Gates, Autobiography, p. 395. 

67. See, for example. Studies from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 
Index for Volumes I-XV (New York: Rockefeller Institute, 1912). 

68. See Corner's Rockefeller Institute, which describes the lines of research pursued 
at the institute from 1901 to 1953. 

69. Shryock notes the "heavy emphasis and reliance on the basic sciences" at the 
new Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in his The Unique 
Influence of the Johns Hopkins University on American Medicine (Copenhagen: 
Ejnar Munksgaard, Ltd., 1953), pp. 49-50. 

70. C. W. Stiles, "Soil Pollution: The Chain Gang as a Possible Disseminator of 
Intestinal Parasites and Infections," Public Health Reports, 28 (1913), 985-86. 

71. Gates, "Capital and Labor," memorandum (n.d., but probably 1916), Gates 
collection. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. Quotes on pages 130-131 are from 
this memo. 

72. Quotes in this paragraph taken from two similar passages in Gates' "Address," 
and Autobiography, pp. 396-97. 

73. "Address." 

74. Ibid. 

75. "Philanthropy and Civilization." 

76. Quotes in this paragraph are taken from similar passages in Gates, "Address," 
and Gates, Autobiography, pp. 399-400. 


1. Quoted in Gerald E. Markowitz and David K. Rosner, "Doctors in Crisis: A 
Study of the Use of Medical Education Reform to Establish Modern Profession- 
al Elitism in Medicine," American Quarterly, 25 (1973), 88. 

2. JAMA, 37 (1901), 270. 

3. Richard H. Shryock, Medical Licensing in America, 1650-1965 (Baltimore: 
Johns Hopkins Press, 1967), pp. 53-54. 

4. Rosemary Stevens, American Medicine and the Public Interest (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1971), p. 24. 

5. Markowitz and Rosner, "Doctors," 87. 

6. Morris Fishbein, A History of the American Medical Association, 1847 to 1947 
(Phila.: W. B. Saunders Co., 1947), pp. 206-13; William G. Rothstein, 

Notes to Pages 138-145 I 257 

American Physicians in the Nineteenth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins 
University Press, 1972), pp. 69-70, 317-18; Stevens, American Medicine, p. 29; 
and James G. Burrow, AM A, Voice of American Medicine (Baltimore: Johns 
Hopkins Press, 1963), pp. 27-32. 

7. Quoted in Fishbein, History, p. 211. 

8. One physician, unhappy with the new leadership, criticized the AMA for being 
self-proclaimed politicians of the profession, for representing only about 8 
percent of the country's doctors, and for being controlled by merely "a half 
dozen men." See B. M. Jackson, "The Medical Profession: Its Politics and 
Politicians," Pacific Medical Journal, Al (1904), 456-61. 

9. On the coalition of university medical school physicians and private practition- 
ers, their interests, strategy, and effect, see the excellent article by Markowitz 
and Rosner, "Doctors." 

10. Arthur D. Bevan, "Cooperation in Medical Education and Medical Service," 
JAMA, 90 (1928), 1173. 

11. "Council on Medical Education of the AMA," JAMA, 48 (1907), 1702. 

12. Sxtvtns^ American Medicine, pp. 65-66. Today, in half the fifty states the state 
medical society has a direct hand in selecting the licensing board, according to 
Robert C. Derbyshire, Medical Licensure and Discipline in the United States 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1969), p. 33. 

13. "Council," JAMA, 48 (1907), 1702-05. 

14. Bevan, "Cooperation," 1174-75; and "Medical Education in the United 
States," JAMA, 79 (1922), 629-37. 

15. See, for example, George M. Kober's presidential address in Association of 
American Medical Colleges, Proceedings of the 17th Annual Meeting, Washing- 
ton, D.C., May 6, 1907, pp. 31-32. 

16. "Council," 1703. 

17. JAMA, 35 (1900), 1353. 

18. "Council," 1703. 

19. JAMA, 37 (1901), 200-01. 

20. "Council," 1703. 

21. "Council on Medical Education of the AMA," JAMA, 44 (1905), 1471. 

22. Abraham Flexner, Henry S. Pritchett: A Biography (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1943), p. 108. 

23. Howard J. Savage, Fruit of an Impulse, 45 Years of the Carnegie Foundation, 
1905-1950 (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1953), pp. 30, 54-55, 73-78; 
and A. Flexner, Pritchett, p. 97. 

24. Information on precisely how Abraham Flexner's name was suggested to 
Pritchett is not readily available. But this scenario seems most consistent with 
available accounts and information. See Savage, Fruit, p. 105. 

25. Abraham Flexner, Abraham Flexner: An Autobiography (New York: Simon 
and Schuster, 1960), pp. 45, 70-71. 

26. Regarding Pritchett's views on the relationship of the medical study to the 
foundation's general program, see Pritchett's "Introduction," in Abraham 
Flexner, Medical Education in the United States and Canada, Bulletin no. 4 
(New York: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1910), p. 

27. Ibid., p. viii. 

28. A. Flexner, Autobiography, p. 74. 

29. Ibid., p. 85. 

30. Ibid., p. 74; Stevens, American Medicine, pp. 66-67. Five medical schools had 
closed between the Council on Medical Education's survey in 1906 and Flexner's 
survey in 1909. 

258 I Motes to Pages 146-152 

31. A. Flexner, Pritchett, p. 110. 

32. Pritchett, "Introduction," in A. Flexner, Medical Education, p. ix. 

33. Henry S. Pritchett to Jerome D. Greene, Pritchett to Cyrus Adler, and Pritchett 
to Dr. William T. Councilman, Jan. 22, 1909; Councilman to Pritchett, Jan. 26, 
1909. Pritchett papers. Library of Congress. 

34. A. Flexner, Medical Education, pp. 24—26. 

35. Pritchett, "Introduction," in ibid., p. xiv, 

36. Flexner, Medical Education, pp. 14-18 (emphasis added). 

37. Ibid., pp. 7-8. 

38. Ibid., p. 19. 

39. Ibid., pp. 18-19, 48; Pritchett, "Introduction," in ibid., p. x. 

40. National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Educational Statistics, 1974 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1975), pp. 33, 76. 

41. A. Flexner, Medical Education, pp. 180-81. 

42. Ibid., pp. 178-80; and Flexner, Autobiography, p. 207. See also Barbara 
Ehrenreich and Deirdre English. Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics 
of Sickness (Old Westbury, N.Y.: The Feminist Press, 1973). 

43. A. Flexner, Medical Education, pp. 26, 28-30. 

44. Ibid., pp. 52-89. 

45. Ibid., p. 16. 

46. G. Frank Lydston, "Medicine as a Business Proposition," JAMA, 34 (1900), 

47. JAMA, 37(1901), 1119. 

48. "Council," JAMA, 44 (1905), 1471. 

49. For further evidence of medical reformers' views on reducing output and raising 
the profession's class base, see Chapter 2. 

50. "Council," JAMA, 44 (1905), 1471. 

51. Frederick C. Shattuck and J. Lewis Bremer, "The Medical School, 1869-1929," 
in S. E. Morison, ed., The Development of Harvard University Since the 
Inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Uni- 
versity Press, 1930), pp. 558-62. See also Frank BilUngs, "Medical Education in 
the United States," President's Address, JAMA, 40 (1903), 1271-76, for a brief 
summary of the organization's position on this and other planks in the reform 

52. Pritchett to Bevan, Nov. 4, 1909, correspondence with AMA, Carnegie 
Foundation files. 

53. Pritchett to Bevan, June 18, 1910, and Bevan to Pritchett, Dec. 17, 1910, 
correspondence with AMA, Carnegie Foundation files. The reviews of Flex- 
ner's report were mixed. The New York Times (June 12, 1910) praised the 
report but called it "slightly contentious and unnecessarily irritating." The 
Chicago Daily Tribune (June 6 and 7, 1910) observed that schools that were 
given favorable evaluations by Flexner praised his report while those that were 
condemned by Flexner denied the validity of his report. The same paper noted 
that "the recommendations lean toward depriving the poor man of an 
education." American Medicine [5 (1910), 441-42] criticized the report for 
saying little that was not already known in the medical profession and for 
disregarding "the very evident progress of the past ten to fifteen years." The 
journal wishfully asserted that "the day of the small, comparatively inconse- 
quential medical college is by no means passed." The New York State Journal of 
Medicine [10 (1910), 483-84] criticized the Carnegie Foundation for meddling in 
the internal affairs of universities and colleges and attacked the Flexner report's 
"wholesale and intemperate criticisms" of American medical schools. The 
homeopathic medical sect, of course, joined the chorus of criticism" from 

Notes to Pages 153-156 I 259 

wounded professional interests; see the Homeopathic Recorder, 25 (1910), 
241-43,337-39, 413,416; and 26 (1911), 15-16. The JAMA [54 (1910), 1949] 
equally predictably praised the report and voiced the leadership's fervent hope 
that "this report will call the attention of men of wealth to the need of endow- 
ments for medical education." 

54. Pritchett to N. P. Colwell, Dec. 29, 1913, correspondence with AMA, Carnegie 
Foundation files. 

55. Pritchett accused the council of giving greater leniency to Baylor University's 
medical school than to Meharry. Pritchett to Colwell, April 3, 1918, and May 2, 
1921, and other letters between Pritchett and Bevan from 1918 to 1922, 
correspondence with AMA, Carnegie Foundation files. By 1917 Pritchett was so 
disenchanted with the council, and presumably ashamed of his own gullibility a 
decade earlier, that he rejected out of hand a request by Bevan that the 
foundation undertake a new study designed to discredit "medical cults." Bevan 
included in this term "everything that masquerades as branches or cults in the 
art of healing outside of regular scientific medicine." Bevan to Pritchett, March 
23, 1917; Pritchett to Bevan, April 3, 1917; and Clyde Furst, secretary of the 
Carnegie Foundation, to N. P. Colwell, Dec. 1, 1917; all in correspondence with 
AMA, Carnegie Foundation files. 

56. A. Flexner, Autobiography, p. 165; Saul Jarcho, "Medical Education in the 
United States, 1910-1956," Journal of the Mount Sinai Hospital, 26 (1959), 

57. A. Flexner, Medical Education, pp. 10-11. 

58. On the impact of the Flexner report see Stevens, American Medicine, pp. 68-69; 
Rothstein, American Physicians, pp. 292-94; Markowitz and Rosner, "Doc- 
tors," 101; Robert P. Hudson, "Abraham Flexner in Perspective: American 
Medical Education, 1865-1910," Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 46 (1972), 
545-61; H. David Banta, "Abraham Flexner — A Reappraisal," Social Science 
and Medicine, 5 (1971), 655-61; and Carleton B. Chapman, '"The Flexner 
Report by Abraham Flexner," Daedalus, 103 (Winter 1974), 105-17. For a 
thorough discussion of the Flexner report in its historical context, see Howard S. 
Berhner, "A Larger Perspective on the Flexner Report," International Journal 
of Health Services, 5 (1975), 573-92. 

59. Herbert M. Morals, The History of the Negro in Medicine (New York^ 
Publishers Co., for Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1967), 
pp. 86, 100. De facto segregation is still the reality in the North as well as in the 
South. Black physicians serve a nearly all-black clientele while few white doctors 
locate their offices in poor or racial minority areas. Cf. Lois C. Gray, "The 
Geographic and Functional Distribution of Black Physicians: Some Research 
and Policy Considerations," American Journal of Public Health, 67 (1977), 
519-26; and Eva J. Salber et al., "Access to Health Care in a Southern Rural 
Community," Medical Care, 14 (1976), 971-«6. 

60. Quoted in John F. Fulton, Harvey Gushing, A Biography (Springfield, 111.: 
Charles C. Thomas, 1946), p. 379. Bevan's memor)' did not serve him well (or 
perhaps it served him better than it served truth). He remembered there being 
twenty-two homeopathic schools and twelve eclectic schools "runnmg at the 
time." The council's own figures indicate that there were twenty-two homeo- 
pathic schools in 1900 and never more than nine eclectic schools at any one time 
(although a total of thirty-two had been started during the previous century). 

61. "Medical Education in the United States," JAMA, 79 (1922), 629-37. 

62. Annual Report of the General Education Board, 1919-1920 and 1928-1929; and 
Stevens, American Medicine, p. 69. 

63. "The Art of Endowing Medical Colleges," JAMA, 37 (1901), 201. 

260 I Notes to Pages 156-165 

64. A. Flexner, Autobiography, pp. 109-10; R. B. Fosdick, Adventure in Giving, 
The Story of the General Education Board (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), 
pp. 154-55; and A. Flexner to F. T. Gates, June 24, 1911, GEB files, 
Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

65. A. Flexner, Autobiography, pp. 110-11. 

66. Ibid., pp. \l2-\3, Fosdick, Adventure, p. 157; A. Flexner, "From the Report on 
the Johns Hopkins Medical School," GEB files, Rockefeller Foundation 

67. See George W. Corner, A History of the Rockefeller Institute, 1901-1953 (New 
York: Rockefeller Institute Press, 1964), p. 94; and S. Flexner and J. T. 
Flexner, William Henry Welch and the Heroic Age of American Medicine (New 
York: Viking Press, 1941), p. 304. The policy was established before the 
hospital opened in 1910. 

68. F. T. Gates, "Concerning Private Gifts to States and a Medical Policy," Memo 
to the General Education Board, Feb. 26, 1925, Gates collection, Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

69. J. D. Greene to Dr. Henry A. Christian, Nov. 30, 1914, GEB files, Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

70. Gates, "Private Gifts." 

71. For descriptive history of full-time plan's origins, see Flexner and Flexner, 
Welch, pp. 297-314, 320-28. 

72. Richard H. Shryock, The Unique Influence of the Johns Hopkins University on 
American Medicine (Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard, Ltd., 1953), p. 19. 

73. Donald Fleming, William H. Welch and the Rise of Modern Medicine (Boston: 
Little, Brown and Co., 1954), especially p. 21; S. Flexner and J. T. Flexner, 
Welch, pp. 71-72. 

74. Quotes and information about Mall are from Florence R. Sabin, Franklin Paine 
Mall, The Story of a Mind (Bahimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1934), especially 
pp. 29, 127-33, 203, 261, 264. 

75. JAMA, 35 (1900), 501. 

76. Victor C. Vaughan, "Reorganization of Clinical Teaching," JAMA, 64 (1915), 

77. Quoted in Sabin, Mall, p. 270. 

78. Fosdick, Adventure, p. 160. 

79. Stevens, American Medicine, p. 96. 

80. Arthur D. Bevan, "Report of the Council on Medical Education," JAMA, 65 
(1915), 110-11. 

81. Benjamin Moore, "The Value of Research in the Development of National 
Health," Popular Science Monthly, 85 (1914), 366. 

82. Quoted in Ilza Veith and Franklin C. McLean, Medicine at the University of 
Chicago, 1927-1952 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952), p. 22. 

83. William H. Welch, "Report on the Endowment of University Medical Educa- 
tion," 1911, copy in GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

84. A. Flexner, Autobiography, pp. 114-15. 

85. Welch's letter to GEB, quoted in Fosdick, Adventure, p. 158. 

86. Ibid., p. 159. 

87. William H. Welch to Simon Flexner, Dec. 5, 1915, GEB files, Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

88. Quoted in S. Flexner and J. T. Flexner, Welch, p. 326. Janeway's article was 
"Outside Professional Engagements by Members of Professional Faculties," 
published in Nicholas Murray Butler's journal. Educational Review, 55 (1918), 

89. Quoted in S. Flexner and J. T. Hexner, Welch, pp. 326-27. 

Notes to Pages 165-173 / 261 

90. A. Flexner to H. S. Pritchett, March 27, 1919, correspondence with GEB, 
Carnegie Foundation files. 

91. Fosdick, Adventure, p. 328. 

92. Ibid., p. 180. 

93. Fulton, Gushing, pp. 383-84; and Fosdick, Adventure, p. 163. 

94. Fosdick, Adventure, p. 163; and Fulton, Gushing, pp. 377-84. 

95. A. Flexner to W. Buttrick, May 7, 1921, GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation 

96. "Reasons Why the Harvard Medical School Offers the Best Opportunities for 
Surgical Scientific Work," by "Members of the Surgical Department," attached 
to letter from H. P. Bowditch (?) to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Oct. 31, 1900, 
Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 

97. Eliot quoted in Fosdick, Adventure, p. 163. 

98. Ibid., p. 164. 

99. Los Angeles Record, May 14, 1912; quoted in Catherine Lewerth, "Source 
Book for a History of the Rockefeller Foundation" (tyjjewritten ms., bound in 
21 vols., Rockefeller Foundation Archives, c. 1949), p. 23. 

100. Bird S. Coler to Starr J. Murphy, April 19, 1917, and clipping from Brooklyn 
Standard Union, April 12, 1917, Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 
Coler had strong Progressive leanings. He believed the foundation was driving 
"an artificial line of division between the more fortunate minority and the less 
fortunate majority of our people." In this respect he was clearly wrong since the 
foundation was attempting to cover up the class divisions in the society. 

101. Pittsburgh (Pa.) Leader, July 10, 1914, clipping enclosed in letter from Starr J. 
Murphy to F. T. Gates, July 21, 1914, Rockefeller Family Archives, record 
group 2. 

102. Commission on Industrial Relations, Final Report (Washington, D.C.: Barnard 
and Miller Print, 1915), pp. 116-19. See also James Weinstein, The Gorporate 
Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968), pp. 172-213. 

103. G. F. Peabody to F. T. Gates, Nov. 5, 1911, Rockefeller Family Archives, 
record group 2. 

104. C. W. Eliot to F. T. Gates, March 27, 1914, Gates collection. Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

105. F. T. Gates, memo to himself or the board (n.d., but apparently Nov. 1911), 
Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 

106. George E. Vincent, The Rockefeller Foundation, A Review for 1917 (New 
York: Rockefeller Foundation, 1918), p. 8; F. T. Gates to G. E. Vincent, March 
20, 1918, and G. E. Vincent to F. T. Gates, March 25, 1918, Program and Policy 
File, Rockefeller Foundation Archives, record group 1. 

107. Fosdick, Adventure, p. 164. 

108. Ibid., p. 164. 

109. Lewerth, "Source Book," pp. 5116, 5119-21. 

110. Quoted in ibid., p. 5115. 

111. Annual Report of the General Education Board, 1920-1921 (New York: GEB, 
1922), p. 22. 

112. Lewerth, "Source Book," pp. 5115-16. 

113. H. S. Pritchett to Wallace Buttrick, Feb. 11 and 24, 1919, correspondence with 
GEB, Carnegie Foundation files. 

114. Pritchett to Flexner, June 10, 1925, correspondence with GEB, Carnegie 
Foundation files. 

115. H. S. Pritchett to Wallace Buttrick, Nov. 11, 1919, correspondence with GEB, 
Carnegie Foundation files. 

262 I Notes to Pages 173-181 

116. W. Buttrick to H. S. Pritchett, Nov. 21, 1919, correspondence with GEB, 
Carnegie Foundation files. 

1 17. W. Buttrick to Harry Pratt Judson, president of University of Chicago, Dec. 26, 
1914, GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

118. Correspondence regarding Columbia University medical school, 1917-1920, 
GEB files, Rockefeller Foundation Archives; and W. Buttrick to H. S. 
Pritchett, Nov. 21, 1919, correspondence with GEB, Carnegie Foundation files. 

119. C. W. Eliot to W. Buttrick, April 24, 1917, GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation 
Archives; and A. P. Stokes to A. Flexner, March 10, 1925, GEB files. 
Rockefeller Foundation Archives. Stokes was always wary of public criticism 
that the GEB was attempting to control educational institutions with its grants 
(cf. A. P. Stokes to W. Buttrick, Jan. 29, 1917, GEB files. Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives). 

120. T. M. Debevoise to F. T. Gates, Oct. 7, 1925, GEB files, Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

121. Ibid. 

122. Minutes of the GEB, Feb. 26, 1925, GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation 

123. Minutes of the GEB Executive Committee, Sept. 30, 1925, GEB files, 
Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

124. Commission on Medical Education, Supplement to the Third Report (New 
Haven: Office of the Director of the Study, May 1929), p. 58. 

125. Association of American Medical Colleges, Proceedings of the 17th Annual 
Meeting, Washington, D.C., May 6, 1907, p. 17. 

126. Commission on Medical Education, Supplement, pp. 58-59. 

127. Memorandum, Dec. 1919, quoted in Fosdick, Adventure, p. 166. 

128. Annual Report of the GEB, 1922-1923, pp. 17-19. 

129. Fosdick, Adventure, pp. 166-67. 

130. F. T. Gates to A. Flexner, Dec. 2, 1922; quoted in Lewerth, "Source Book," 
pp. 5230-31; and Gates memo, quoted in Fosdick, Adventure, p. 167. 

131. A. Hexner, Autobiography, p. 189; A. Flexner to H. S. Pritchett, Nov. 1, 1922; 
quoted in Fosdick, Adventure, p. 167. 

132. Lewerth, "Source Book," p. 5231. 

133. Gates, "Private <}ifts." 

134. Ibid. 

135. Ibid. 

136. Gates, Autobiography, unpublished ms., 1928, Gates collection. Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives, p. 463; Gates, "Some Reflections on Questions of 
Policy," memo to the board, Jan. 23, 1906, Gates collection. Rockefeller 
Foundation Archives. 

137. Ibid. 

138. Ibid. 

139. Ibid. 

140. Ibid. 

141. Ibid. 

142. Ibid. 

143. Gates, memo "written for the sake of clarifying my own thought" concerning 
conflicts he was having with board member Charles W. Eliot over GEB funding 
policies. Eliot favored using some funds to support current expenses of colleges 
as opposed to Gates' insistence on permanent endowments. He criticized Eliot's 
conception of the board's mission as much too "humble." "Dr. Eliot's plan is to 
buy [apples] at a dollar a bushel and distribute them. My plan is to plant apple 
trees." Memo, Feb. 28, 1910, Rockefeller Family Archives, record group 2. 

Notes to Pages 181-195 I 263 

144. See E. Richard Brown, "Public Health in Imperialism: Early Rockefeller 
Programs at Home and Abroad," American Journal of Public Health, 66 (1976), 

145. Gates, Autobiography, pp. 456-57, 463-64. 

146. Gates, "Fundamental Principles of Mr. Rockefeller's Philanthropy," Oct. 7, 
1908, Gates collection. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

147. Gates to Rockefeller, St., Aug. 9, 1907, Gates collection. Rockefeller Founda- 
tion Archives. 

148. Gates, "Thoughts on the Rockefeller Public and Private Benefactions," Dec. 
31, 1926, Gates collection, Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

149. Fosdick, The Story of the Rockefeller Foundation (London: Odhams Press, 
Ltd., 1952), p. 117. 

150. Annual Report of the GEB, 1920-1921, pp. 30-34. 

151. Gates, "Private Gifts." 

152. Minutes of the GEB, Nov. 1924 through March 1925; and W. Buttrick to J. D. 
Rockefeller, Jr., Dec. 29, 1924, GEB files. Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

153. Minutes of the board. May 28, 1925; and Document of Record no. 474, GEB 
files, Rockefeller Foundation Archives. 

154. Minutes of the GEB Executive Committee, Nov. 9, 1925, GEB files, Rockefel- 
ler Foundation Archives. 

155. Lewerth, "Source Book," p. 5240, based on correspondence between Iowa 
officers. Rockefeller and GEB officers, and Pritchett at Carnegie Foundation. 

156. On the development of monopoly control through intervention by the State, see 
Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism — A Reinterpretation of American 
History, 1900-1916 (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1967); and Weinstein, The 
Corporate Ideal. 

157. David Rockefeller quote from Wall Street Journal, Dec. 21, 1971, p. 10. 

158. JAMA, 37 (1901), 200-01. 

159. A. D. Bevan to H. S. Pritchett, Oct. 5, 1921, correspondence with AMA, 
Carnegie Foundation files. 

160. W. H. Welch, "Duties of a Hospital to the Public Health," Proceedings of the 
National Conference of Charities and Correction, 42nd Annual Meeting, 
Baltimore, May 12-19, 1915, p. 215. 

161. Markowitz and Rosner, "Doctors," 87. 

162. The history of the AMA's involvement with social insurance from 1915 to 1920 
is developed in Elton Rayack, Professional Power and American Medicine (New 
York: World Publishing Co., 1967), pp. 136-46; and Burrow, AMA, pp. 
132-51. Other views of the ascendancy of the conservatives in the AMA in 1920 
can be found in Shryock, Licensing, pp. 91-94; and in Stevens, American 


1. Rosemary Stevens, American Medicine and the Public Interest (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1971), pp. 68-69; and Richard H. Shryock, American 
Medical Research, Past, and Present (New York: Commonwealth Fund, 1947), 
pp. 96-97. 

2. Abraham Flexner, Abraham Flexner: An Autobiography (New York: Simon 
and Schuster, 1960), p. 37. 

3. Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, Medical Care for the American 
People: The Final Report of the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932). 

264 I Notes to Pages 196-203 

4. Although one-third of the committee's membership was private practitioners, 
two-thirds were persons generally committed to rationalizing medical care, 
including Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur and Winthrop W. 
Aldrich, president of the Chase National Bank and brother-in-law of John D. 
Rockefeller, Jr. For other discussions of the CCMC, see Odin W. Anderson, 
The Uneasy Equilibrium: Private and Public Financing of Health Services in the 
United States, 1875-1965 (New Haven: College and University Press, 1968), pp. 
91-103; and Elton Rayack, Professional Power and American Medicine: The 
Economics of the American Medical Association (Cleveland: World Publishing 
Co., 1967), pp. 146-55. 

5. JAMA, 99 (1932),' 1950-52. See also Rayack, noted above. 

6. I. S. Falk, "Medical Care in the U.S.A.: 1932-1972. Problems, Proposals, and 
Programs from the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care to the Committee 
for National Health Insurance," Health and Society, Milbank Memorial Fund 
Quarterly, 51 (Winter 1973), 6, 15. 

7. Leonard Rodberg and Gelvin Stevenson, "The Health Care Industry in Ad- 
vanced Capitalism," Review of Radical Political Economics, 9 (Spring 1977), 

8. Edwin R. Embree and Julia Waxman, Investment in People: The Story of the 
Julius Rosenwald Fund (New York: Harper and Bros., 1949), pp. 128-31. 

9. For a thorough examination of Blue Cross, see Sylvia Law, Blue Cross: What 
Went Wrong? (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974). For a brief history of 
Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and insurance company involvement in commercial 
health insurance, see Herman M. Somers and Anne R. Somers, Doctors, 
Patients, and Health Insurance — The Organization and Financing of Medical 
Care (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1961), pp. 249-340. For later 
data on premium income, see Robert M. Gibson and Charles R. Fisher, 
"National Health Expenditures, Fiscal Year 1977," Social Security Bulletin, 41 
(July 1978), 3-20. 

10. For a summary of information on the Hill-Burton program, see Cambridge 
Research Institute, Trends Affecting the U.S. Health Care System (Washington, 
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), pp. 91-95. 

11. See, for example, G. William Domhoff, The Higher Circles: The Governing 
Class in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1971); Ralph Miliband, The State 
in Capitalist Society (New York: Basic Books, 1969); Claus Offe, "Political 
Authority and Class Structures: An Analysis of State Capitalist Societies," 
International Journal of Sociology, 2 (1972), 73-108; and James O'Connor, The 
Fiscal Crisis of the State (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973). For analyses of 
the State and health care under capitalism, see Marc Renaud, "On the 
Structural Constraints to State Intervention in Health," International Journal of 
Health Services, 5 (1975), 559-71; and Vincente Navarro, Medicine Under 
Capitalism (New York: Prodist, 1976), pp. 183-228. 

12. See Rayack, Professional Power, chap. 5; and James G. Burrow, AMA, Voice 
of American Medicine (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1963), chap. 7. 

13. Rayack, Professional Power, chap. 5; and Burrow, AMA, pp. 194-251, 
293-301, 340-71. 

14. Rayack, Professional Power, chap. 3. 

15. Gibson and Fisher, "National Health Expenditures"; and Hospital Statistics, 
1977 ed. (Chicago: American Hospital Association, 1977). 

16. See, for example, Barry Ensminger, "The $8-Billion Hospital Bed Overrun: A 
Consumer's Guide to Stopping Wasteful Construction" (Washington, D.C.: 

Notes to Pages 203-210 / 265 

Public Citizen's Health Research Group, 1975); and Institute of Medicine, 
Controlling the Supply of Hospital Beds (Washington, D.C.: National Academy 
of Sciences, 1976). 

17. Cambridge Research Institute, Trends, p. 180. 

18. Gibson and Fisher, "National Health Expenditures." 

19. Robert Alford, Health Care Politics: Ideological and Interest Group Barriers to 
Reform (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), especially pp. 190-217. 

20. Hospital Statistics, pp. 4-5. 

21. See, for example, Douglass J. Seaver, "Hospital Revises Role, Reaches Out to 
Cultivate and Capture Markets," Hospitals, 51 (June 1, 1977), 59-63; David D. 
Karr, "Increasing a Hospital's Market Share," in same issue, 64-66; and Warren 
C. Falberg and Shirley Bonnem, "Good Marketing Helps a Hospital Grow," in 
same issue, 70-73. 

22. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1976 (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), p. 427. 

23. Navarro, Medicine Under Capitalism, pp. 148-49. 

24. Marianna O. Lewis, ed. The Foundation Directory, 6th ed. (New York: 
Foundation Center, 1977), pp. xiii, xxi. 

25. See, for example, G. WilHam Domhoff, Who Rules America? (Englewood 
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967); and Domhoff, The Higher Circles. 

26. Vicente Navarro, "National Health Insurance and the Strategy for Change," 
Health and Society, Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 51 (Spring 1973), 

27. See, for example, David Mechanic, Public Expectations and Health Care (New 
York: Wiley-Interscience, 1972), p. 27. 

28. Eliot Marshall, "What's Bad for General Motors," New Republic, March 12, 
1977, pp. 22-23. 

29. Gibson and Fisher, "National Health Expenditures." 

30. From the voluminous literature on HMOs, some useful favorable articles are: 
Cambridge Research Institute, Trends, pp. 221-60; Ernest W. Saward and 
Merwyn R. Greenlick, "Health Policy and the HMO," Milbank Memorial Fund 
Quarterly, 50 (April 1972, pt. 2), 147-76; Ira G. Greenberg and Michael L. 
Rodburg, "The Role of Prepaid Group Practice in Relieving the Medical Care 
Crisis," Harvard Law Review, 84 (1971), 887-1001. The business point of view, 
also very favorable, is represented by Committee for Economic Development, 
Building a National Health Care System (New York: Committee for Economic 
Development, 1973); Michael B. Rothfield, "Sensible Surgery for Swelling 
Medical Costs," Fortune, (April 1973), 110-19; and "Containing the Cost of 
Employee Health Plans," Business Week, May 30, 1977, pp. 74-76. Some good 
critical articles on HMOs include Howard B. Waitzkin and Barbara Waterman, 
The Exploitation of Illness in Capitalist Society (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs- 
Merrill, 1974), pp. 89-107; Thomas Bodenheimer, Elizabeth Harding, and 
Steve Cummings, Billions for Band- Aids (San Francisco: Medical Committee 
for Human Rights, 1972), pp. 75-98; and Judy Carnoy et al., "The Kaiser 
Plan," Health PAC Bulletin, no. 55, Nov. 1973, pp. 1-18. The enabling and 
funding legislation is the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 (P.L. 

31. JAMA, 227(1974), 1171. 

32. See, for example, Bruce C. Vladeck, "Interest-Group Representation and the 
HSAs: Health Planning and Political Theory," American Journal of Public 
Health, 67 (1977), 23-39. 

33. Committee for Economic Development, Building a National Health Care 

266 I Notes to Pages 210-219 

34. Lewis, Foundation Directory, p. xxi; and David E. Rogers, "The President's 
Statement," Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Annual Report, 1973 (Prince- 
ton, N.J.: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1973). 

35. Alford, Health Care Politics, pp. 190-217. 

36. Falk, "Medical Care in the U.S.A.," 29-30 (emphasis added). 

37. Recent legislative efforts to control rising hospital costs led to conflicts among 
hospitals, which were concerned mainly with limitations on their revenues, and 
investment bankers and medical equipment manufacturers, who were upset with 
limitations on capital expenditures that would reduce hospital construction and 
purchase of major equipment such as CAT scanners. See "Bankers and 
Manufacturers Meet to Discuss Opposition to Hospital Cost Containment," 
Washington Report on Medicine and Health, 31 (Aug. 29, 1977), 2. 

38. Alford, Health Care Politics, p. 193. 

39. Health United States, 1975 (Rockville, Md.: National Center for Health 
Statistics, 1976), pp. 405, 409; Lu Ann Aday, "The Impact of Health Policy on 
Access to Medical Care," Health and Society, Milbank Memorial Fund 
Quarterly, 54 (Spring 1976), 215-33; Ronald Andersen, Joanna Kravits, and. 
Odin W. Anderson, Equity in Health Services: Empirical Analyses in Social 
Policy (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballmger Publishing Co., 1975), p. 178; Adele D. 
Hofmann, "Health Care of Inner-City Adolescents," Clinical Pediatrics, 13 
(1974), 570-73; A. F. Brunswick and E. Josephson, "Adolescent Health in 
Harlem," American Journal of Public Health, 62 (1972, suppl), 1-62; K. D. 
Rogers and G. Reese, "Health Studies — Presumably Normal High School 
Students," American Journal of Diseases of Children, 108 (1964), 572-600; and 
Health Attitudes and Behaviors of Youths 12-17 Years: Demographic and 
Socioeconomic Factors, Vital and Health Statistics, series 11, no. 153 (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: National Center for Health Statistics, 1975). 

40. San Francisco Chronicle, July 14, 1977. 

41. Lois C. Gray, "The Geographic and Functional Distribution of Black Physi- 
cians: Some Research and Policy Considerations," American Journal of Public 
Health, 67 (1977), 519-26. See also Eva J. Salber et al., "Access to Health Care 
in a Southern Rural Community," Medical Care, 14 (1976), 971-86. 

42. Cambridge Research Institute, Trends, p. 128. 

43. Marjorie Smith Mueller, "Private Health Insurance in 1973: A Review of 
Coverage, Enrollment, and Financial Experience," Social Security Bulletin, 38 
(Feb. 1975), 21^0. 

44. Gibson and Fisher, "National Health Expenditures." 

45. Quoted in L. Frederick, "How Much Unnecessary Surgery?" Medical World 
News, 17 (1976), 50-66. 

46. John P. Bunker, "Surgical Manpower: A Comparison of Operations and 
Surgeons in the United States and in England and Wales," New England 
Journal of Medicine, 282 (1970), 135-^. 

47. House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, Cost and Quality of 
Health Care: Unnecessary Surgery ^Washington, D.C.: Government Printing 
Office, 1976). 

48. R. D. Lyons, "Surgery on Poor Is Found Higher," New York Times, Sept. 1, 

49. Cambridge Research Institute, Trends, p. 366. 

50. Ibid., pp. 357-66. 

51. On the commodification of health services, see Navarro, Medicine Under 
Capitalism, pp. 183-228; and Rodberg and Stevenson, "Health Care Industry." 

52. See, for example, Harry Schwartz, The Case for American Medicine (New 

Notes to Pages 219-222 I 267 

York: David McKay, 1972); and his article, "A Half Century of Health 
Progress," Ohio State Medical Journal, 71 (1975), 58-59. 

53. T. McKeown, "A Conceptual Background for Research and Development in 
Medicine," International Journal of Health Services, 3 (1971), 17-28; and 
McKeown, Medicine in Modern Society (London: Allen & Unwin, 1965). 

54. Warren Winkelstein and Fern E. French, "The Role of Ecology in the Design of 
a Health Care System," California Medicine, 113 (1970), 7-12. 

55. John Powles, "On the Limitations of Modern Medicine," Science, Medicine, 
and Man, 1 (1973), 6. For similar data, analysis, and conclusions applied to the 
United States, see John B. McKinlay and Sonja M. McKinlay, "The Questiona- 
ble Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United 
States in the Twentieth Century," Health and Society I Milbank Memorial Fund 
Quarterly (Summer 1977) 405-28. 

56. Rene Dubos, Mirage of Health— Utopias, Progress, and Biological Change 
(Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1959), pp. 30-31. 

57. George Rosen, A History of Public Health (New York: M D Publications, 
1958), pp. 192-275; and Dubos, Mirage of Health, pp. 139^0. 

58. Health United States, 1975, pp. 227, 358-59. 

59. C. L. Erhardt and J. E. Berlin, eds.. Mortality and Morbidity in the United 
States (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974), p. 174; and Health 
United States, 1975, pp. 338-47, 371. 

60. Barbara Starfield, Health Needs of Children, Harvard Child Health Series 
Project Reports, vol. 2 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976); 
and Erhardt and Berlin, Mortality and Morbidity, pp. 28-29. 

61. Harold S. Luft, "The Probability of Disability: The Influence of Age, Race, 
Sex, Education, and Income," Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the 
American Public Health Association, Chicago, November 17, 1975; and 
"Socioeconomic Differentials in Morbidity," Metropolitan Life Insurance Com- 
pany Statistics Bulletin, 53 (June 1972), 10-12. 

62. S. Leonard Syme and Lisa F. Berkman, "Social Class, Susceptibility, and 
Sickness," American Journal of Epidemiology, 104 (1976), 1-8; M. H. Nagi and 
E. G. Stockwell, "Socioeconomic Differentials in Mortality by Cause of 
Death," Health Services Reports, 88 (1973), 449-56; A. Antonovsky, "Social 
Class, Life Expectancy, and Overall Mortality," Milbank Memorial Fund 
Quarterly, 45 (1967), 31-73; Stephanie J. Ventura et al., "Selected Vital and 
Health Statistics in Poverty and Nonpoverty Areas of 19 Large Cities, United 
States, 1969-71," Vital and Health Statistics, series 21, no. 26 (Rockville, Md.: 
National Center for HeaUh Statistics, 1975). 

63. Warren Winkelstein, "Epidemiological Considerations Underlying the Alloca- 
tion of Health and Disease Care Resources," International Journal of Epidemi- 
ology, 1 (1972), 69-74. 

64. Winkelstein and French, "The Role of Ecology"; and G. A. Lillington, "Health 
Effects from Air Pollution," in W. D. McKee, ed.. Environmental Problems in 
Medicine (Springfield, 111.: Charles C. Thomas, 1974), pp. 314-24. 

65. See Forward Plan for Health, [Fiscal Year] 1978-82 (Washington, D.C.: Public 
Health Service, 1976), p. 77; Daniel M. Berman, Death on the Job (forthcoming 
from Monthly Review Press), chap. 2; J. A. Page and M. O'Brien, Bitter Wages 
(New York: Grossman, 1973); and P. Brodeur, Expendable Americans (New 
York: Viking Press, 1974). 

66. Blue Cross Association Consumer Report, March 1976, p. 1. 

67. J. Eyer, "Hypertension as a Disease of Modern Society," International Journal 
of Health Services, 5 (1975), 539-58; S. L. Syme, T. Oakes, and G. Friedman, 

268 I Notes to Pages 223-227 

"Social Class and Racial Differences in Blood Pressure," American Journal of 
Public Health, 64 (1974), 619-20; S. L. Syme, M. M. Hyman, and P. E. 
Enterline, "Cultural Mobility and the Occurrence of Coronary Heart Disease," 
Journal of Health and Human Behavior, 6 (1965), 178-90; M. Friedman, R. 
Rosenman, and V. Carroll, "Changes in Serum Cholesterol and Blood Clotting 
Time in Men Subjected to Cyclic Variation of Occupation Stress," Circulation, 
17 (1958), 852-61; H. Russek and B. Zohman, "Relative Significance of 
Heredity, Diet, and Occupational Stress in Coronary Heart Disease of Young 
Adults," American Journal of Medical Science, 235 (1958), 266-77; M. 
Friedman and R. Rosenman, Type A Behavior and Your Heart (New York: 
Knopf, 1974); and S. Kasl and S. Cobb, "Blood Pressure Changes in Men 
Undergoing Job Lx)ss: A Preliminary Report," Psychosomatic Medicine, 32 
(1970), 19-38. 

68. Erhardt and Berlin, Mortality and Morbidity, pp. 28-29. 

69. Special Task Force to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Work in 
America (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1973), pp. 77-79. 

70. Robert J. Haggerty, "Session III — Present Strengths and Weaknesses in 
Current Systems of Comprehensive Health Services for Children and Youth," 
American Journal of Public Health, 60 (1970), 74-98. 

71. Walsh McDermott, Kurt W. Deuschle, and Clifford R. Bamett, "Health Care 
Experiment at Many Farms," Science, 175 (1972), 23-31. 

72. Joel Alpert et al., "Delivery of Health Care for Children: Report of an 
Experiment," Pediatrics, 57 (1976), 917-30. 

73. Paul Starr, "Who Needs Medicine? The Politics of Therapeutic Nihilism," 
Working Papers for a New Society, 4 (Summer 1976), 48-55. 

74. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Development of Medical 
Technology — Opportunities for Assessment (Washington, D.C.: Government 
Printing Office, 1976), pp. 14-15. 

75. David M. Kessner et al. , Infant Death: An Analysis by Maternal Risk and Health 
Care (Washington, D.C.: Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 
1973), pp. 1-18. 

76. Naomi M. Morris et al., "Shifting Age-Parity Distribution of Births and the 
Decrease in Infant Mortality." American Journal of Public Health, 65 (1975), 

77. Shryock, American Medical Research, pp. 96-97; and General Education Board 
Annual Report, 1940, pp. 191-96. 

78. Shryock, American Medical Research, pp. 277, 289. 

79. Basic Data Relating to the National Institutes of Health, 1974 and 1977 eds. ; S. P. 
Strickland, "Integration of Medical Research and Heahh Policies," Science, 173 
(1971), 1093; Strickland, Science, Politics, and Dread Disease (Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972); and NIH Study Committee, Biomedical 
Science and Its Administration, A Study of the National Institutes of Health 
(Washington, DC: The White House, 1965). 

80. American Foundation, Medical Research: A Midcentury Survey, vol. 1 (Boston: 
Little, Brown and Co., 1955), 144, 147; and David E. Rogers, "Medical 
Academe and the Problems of Primary Care," Journal of Medical Education, 50 
(Dec. 1975, pt. 2), 171-80. In 1967-68, federal support equaled 53 percent of 
U.S. medical schools' operating income, state and local government support 
totaled another 15 percent, while tuition and fees came to only 4 percent and 
endowment income to only 3 percent; see Ray E. Brown, "Financing Medical 
Education," in William G. Anlyan et al. , eds. , The Future of Medical Education 
(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1973), p. 180. 

81. Rogers, "Medical Academe"; Herman M. Somers and Anne R. Somers, 

Notes to Pages 227-233 I 269 

Doctors, Patients, and Health Insurance (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institu- 
tion, 1961), p. 42; and James W. Begun, "Refining Physician Manpower Data," 
Medical Care, 15 (1977), 780-86. 

82. See Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, The American Health Empire: 
Power, Profits, and Politics (New York: A Heahh-PAC Book, Vintage Books, 
1971); and Cecil G. Sheps and Conrad Seipp, "The Medical School, Its Products 
and Its Problems," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social 
Science, 399 (Jan. 1972), 38-49. 

83. Hans Zinsser, "The Perils of Magnanimity: A Problem in American Educa- 
tion," Atlantic Monthly, 159 (1927), 246-50; see also the short article by the 
director of the National Science Foundation, WiUiam D. McElroy, "The 
Making of Science Policy," Proceedings of the Federation of American Societies 
for Experimental Biology, 31 (1972), 1553-55. 

84. JAMA, 37 (1901), 200-01, warned, "Rich men may injure the cause of medical 
education" unless their giving is guided by the private practice medical 

85. Basic Data Relating to the National Institutes of Health, 1977 ed. 

86. American Foundation, Medical Research, vol. I, 11, 108-10, 132. 

87. Basic Data Relating to the National Institutes of Health, 1974 and 1977 eds. 

88. Forward Plan for Health, FY I978-S2, p. 97; Daniel S. Greenberg, " 'New 
Broom' at the Cancer Institute?" New England Journal of Medicine, 297 
(1977), 679-80; Samuel S. Epstein, "Environmental Determinants of Human 
Cancer," Cancer Research, 34 (1974), 2425-35; and Los Angeles Times, Sept. 

12, 1978. 

89. Greenberg, " 'New Broom' "; and Greenberg, "The 'War on Cancer': Official 
Fictions and Harsh Facts," Science and Government Report, 4 (Dec. 1, 1974), 
1-3. See also Forward Plan for Health, FY 1978-82, p. 97. Other researchers 
have concluded that some of the improvements in cancer survival rates with 
most kinds of therapy are due to deficient tumor registry methods: Ralph D. 
Reynolds et al., "Survival in Lung Cancer," Western Journal of Medicine, 121 
(1977), 190-94. There have been some notable improvements in detection and 
treatment of cancer (particularly for Hodgkin's disease and childhood leuke- 
mia), but these have had very little impact on overall cancer mortality and, of 
course, no impact on the incidence of cancer. 

90. Forward Plan for Health, FY 1978-82, p. 96; and Vicente Navarro, "The 
Underdevelopment of Health in Working America: Causes, Consequences, and 
Possible Solutions," American Journal of Public Health, 66 (1976), 538-47. 

91. Zachary Y. Dyckman, A Study of Physicians' Fees (Washington, D.C.: 
President's Council on Wage and Price Stability, 1978), pp. 74-75. 

92. Office of Technology Assessment, Development of Medical Technology, pp. 
80-87; Basic Data Relating to the National Institutes of Health, 1977 ed. 

93. Office of Technology Assessment, Development of Medical Technology, pp. 
80-81 and 85; see also Milton Silverman and Philip R. Lee, Pills, Profits, and 
Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974). 

94. Office of Technology Assessment, Development of Medical Technology, pp. U, 


95. Ibid., pp. 11-13, 20, 27. See also James L. Goddard, "The Medical Business," 
in Scientific American, eds. , Life and Death and Medicine (San Francisco: W. H. 
Freeman and Co., 1973), pp. 120-25; David A. Loehwing, "Biomedical 
Technology — All Systems Are Go," Barron's, Nov. 5, 1973; and Loehwing, 
"Biomedicine Abounds in Risks as Well as Rewards," Barron's, Nov. 12, 1973; 
and Eliot Marshall, "Rendezvous with a Machine," New Republic, March 19, 
1977, pp. 16-19. 

270 / Notes to Pages 234-236 

96. David E. Rogers, "On Technologic Restraint," Archives of Internal Medicine, 
135 (1975), 1393-97. 

97. Anne R. Somers, "Health Care and the Political System: The Sorcerer's 
Apprentice Revisited," in Technology and Health Care Systems in the 1980s 
(Rockville, Md.: National Center for Heahh Services Research and Develop- 
ment, 1973), p. 39. 

98. Basic Data Relating to the National Institutes of Health, 1974 and 1977 eds. 

99. Victor R. Fuchs, "The Growing Demand for Medical Care," New England 
Journal of Medicine, 279 (1968), 190-95. 

100. Dubos, Mirage of Health. 

101. Ivan Illich, Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health (New York: 
Pantheon, 1976). 

102. Marc Lalonde, A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians (Ottawa: 
Government of Canada, 1974). 

103. On the Hmits of modern medicine, in addition to Illich, see A. L. Cochrane, 
Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services (London: 
Nuffield Provincial Hospital Trust, 1972); Rick J. Carlson, The End of Medicine 
(New York: John Wiley, 1975); Victor Fuchs, Who Shall Live? Health, 
Economics, and Social Choice (New York: Basic Books, 1974); McKeown, 
"Conceptual Background"; McKeown, Medicine in Modern Society; and 
Powles, "On the Limitations of Modern Medicine." On medicine as social 
control, in addition to Illich, see Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, 
"Medicine and Social Control," and Irving Kenneth Zola, "Medicine as an 
Institution of Social Control," both reprinted in John Ehrenreich, ed.. The 
Cultural Crisis of Modern Medicine (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978), 
pp. 39-79 and 80-100, respectively; Waitzkin and Waterman, Exploitation of 
Illness, pp. 16-65. See also the classic works of Talcott Parsons, The Social 
System (New York: Free Press, 1951), and "Definitions of Health and Illness in 
the Light of American Values and Social Structure," in E. G. Jaco, ed., 
Patients, Physicians, and Illness, 2nd ed. (New York: Free Press, 1972), pp. 
107-127; and of Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Mental Illness (New York: Harper 
and Row, 1961). 

104. Nedra B. Belloc and Lester Breslow, "Relationship of Physical Health Status 
and Health Practices," Preventive Medicine, 1 (1972), 409-21. 

105. Fuchs, Who Shall Live? p. 46. For some epidemiological evidence to the 
contrary, see discussion earlier in this chapter (pp. 219-23) and accompanying 

106. For critical reviews of this literature, see Robert Crawford, "You Are 
Dangerous to Your Health: The Ideology and Politics of Victim Blaming," 
International Journal of Health Services, 1 (1977), 663-80; Navarro, Medicine 
Under Capitalism, pp. 103-31; and Howard S. Berhner, "Emerging Ideologies 
in Medicine," Review of Radical Political Economics, 9 (Spring 1977), 116-24. 

107. J. W. Meigs, "Can Occupational Health Concepts Help Us Deal with 
Childhood Lead Poisoning?" American Journal of Public Health, 62 (1972), 

108. Pranab Chatterjee and Judith H. Gettman, "Lead Poisoning: Subculture as a 
Facilitating Agent?" American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 25 (1972), 324-30. 

109. Conference on Future Directions in Health Care: The Dimensions of Medicine, 
Sponsored by Blue Cross Association, Rockefeller Foundation, and University 
of California (San Francisco) Health Policy Program, New York, Dec. 1975, 
pp. 4-5. 

110. Ibid., pp. 2-3. 

111. Fuchs, Who Shall Live? p. 27. 

Notes to Pages 236-238 I 271 

112. Leon R. Kass, "Regarding the End of Medicine and the Pursuit of Health," 
Public Interest, no. 40 (Summer 1975), 39, 42. 

113. See, for example, E. A. Suchman, "Social Patterns of Illness and Medical 
Care," in E. G. Jaco, ed., Patients, Physicians, and Illness, pp. 262-79; S. S. 
Kegeles et al., "Survey of Beliefs About Cancer Detection and Taking 
Papanicolaou Test," Public Health Reports, 80 (1965), 815-24; and W. A. 
Wingert et al., "Effectiveness and Efficiency of Indigenous Health Aids in a 
Pediatric Outpatient Department," American Journal of Public Health, $a65 
(1975), 849-57. 

114. M. R. Greenlick et al., "Comparing the Use of Medical Care Services by a 
Medically Indigent and a General Membership Population in a Comprehensive 
Prepaid Group Practice Program," Medical Care, 10 (1972), 187-200; Alpert et 
al., "Delivery of Health Care for Children"; R. J. Haggerty, K. J. Roghmann, 
and I. B. Pless, Child Health and the Community (New York: John Wiley, 
1975); and C. H. Goodrich, M. Olendzki, and G. Reader, Welfare Medical 
Care: An Experiment (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970). See 
also C. K. Reissman, "The Use of Health Services by the Poor," Social Policy, 5 
(May-June 1974), 41^9; and John B. McKinlay and Diana B. Dutton, 
"Social-Psychological Factors Affecting Health Service Utilization," in S. J. 
Mushkin, ed.. Consumer Incentives for Health Care (New York: Prodist, 1974), 
pp. 251-303, for reviews of the issue and the literature. The myths about why 
patients break medical appointments are corrected in Philip Hertz and Paula L. 
Stamps, "Appointment-Keeping Behavior Re-Evaluated," American Journal of 
Public Health, 67 (1977), 1033-36. 

115. For an example of such a program, see the article by California Governor 
Ronald Reagan's head of the state's Health and Welfare Agency, Earl W. 
Brian, "Government Control of Hospital Utilization — A California Experi- 
ence," New England Journal of Medicine, 286 (1972), 1340-44. 

116. C. Arden Miller, "Societal Change and Public Health: A Rediscovery," 
American Journal of Public Health, 66 (1976), 54-60. 

117. See Crawford, "You Are Dangerous to Your Health," pp. 673-74, especially 
quote from former UAW president Leonard Woodcock. For another example 
of such a program, see report on the Department of Labor's "Employee Health 
Program," an alcohol treatment program designed to "stabilize work behavior," 
in C. J. Schramm, "Measuring the Return on Program Costs: Evaluation of a 
Multi-Employer Alcoholism Treatment Program," American Journal of Public 
Health, 67 (1977), 50-:-i. 

118. E. Richard Brown and Glen E. Margo, "Health Education: Can the Reformers 
Be Reformed?" International Journal of Health Services, 8 (1978), 3-26. 


Abel, John J., 145 
Addams, Jane, 23 
AFL-CIO, 216 
Agassiz, Louis, 26 
Aldrich, Nelson, 48 
Aldrich, Winthrop W., 264n4 
Alford, Robert, 7, 204, 212 
Allopathic medicine, 110, 218 
American Academy of Medicine, 137 
American Association for Labor Legisla- 
tion, 117, 191, 201 
American Baptist Education Society, 

34-35, 36, 40, 124, 172 
American Cancer Society, 219, 229 
American College of Surgeons, 94 
American Congress of Physicians and Sur- 
geons, 93, 137 
American Hospital Association, 7, 199, 

American Medical Association (AMA), 5, 
black and women doctors and, 88-89 
Carnegie Foundation and, 152-53 
codes of ethics, 66 
Committee on Costs of Medical Care 

and, 197 
federal funding of medical research 

and, 226 
federal aid to medical schools and, 202, 

founding, 65 

full-time plan and, 163-64, 190 
health insurance and, 191 
Hill-Burton Act and, 199 

medical education reform and, 65-66, 
69, 85, 188 

medical schools and, 8 

attacks on medical sects, 66, 88-90 

Medicare and Medicaid and, 202-03 

membership, 93, 137, 138 

national health insurance and, 197, 

organization, 66-67, 83, 94, 137 

as profession's political instrument, 67, 

Professional Standards Review Organ- 
izations and, 209 

Progressivism and, 191 

reorganization, 137-38 

specialization and, 93-94 

see also Council on Medical Education 
American Public Health Association, 216 
Angell, James, 184 
Amett, Trevor, 184 
Arnold, Richard, 113-14 
Association of American Medical Col- 
leges, 86, 89, 140, 176 
Association of American Physicians, 93 
Austria, 72, 81 

Bache, Alexander Dallas, 25 
Baldwin, William H., 57, 247n7/ 
Barker, Lewellys P., 158, 160, 164 
Baylor University medical school, 259n55 
Behring, Emil von, 76 
Bellevue Hospital medical school, 72, 102 
Bemis, Edward, 57 

274 / Index 

Bevan, Arthur Dean 

appointment to Council on Medical 
Education, 139 

A. Flexnerand, 152, 155 

Flexner report and, 143, 145, 151-52, 

on full-time plan, 162, 190 

General Education Board and, 190 

on need for philanthropy to medical 
schools, 142 

Pritchett and, 143, 144, 151-53, 155, 
190, 259n55 

request to Carnegie Foundation, 142-43 

role in professionalization campaign, 

state licensing boards and, 139 
Bigelow, Horatio. 92 
Billings, Frank, 86 
Billings, John Shaw, 79, 87 
Bismarck, Otto von, 1 17, 201 
Blacks, 234 

access to medical care, 213 

Flexner report on. 148-49 

General Education Board and, 44, 45, 

health status, 222, 224 

in medicine, 88-89, 153, 154, 166, 

Southern education movement and, 
Blue Cross. 7, 199,205,208 
Blue Shield, 205, 208 
Bowditch. Henry Pickering, 72 
Boylan, John, 169 
Braverman, Harry, 25 
Bryan, W. L., 86,252^6/ 
Bryan, William Jennings, 18 
Buchez, P. J. B., 127 
Butler, Nicholas Murray, 127, 172-74 
Buttnck, Wallace, 46, 47, 54, 173. 184 

California Institute of Technology, 27 

Canada, 145 

Cancer, 222, 229-30. 236, 269mS9 

Capitalist society, medicine in, 12, 190, 
see also Corporate capitalism; Cor- 
porate class 

Carnegie, Andrew, 9 
castle in Scotland, 20, 53 
General Education Board and, 57 

gifts to birthplace, 32 

"Gospel of Wealth," 30-32, 34, 48 

growth of fortune, 15 

higher education and, 31, 53, 143 

innovations in industry, 52 

labor relations and, 115, 249n98 

limitations in philanthropy, 52 

origins of Carnegie Foundation, 53, 143 

on philanthropy, 31-32, 33 

philanthropies, 31-32 

Pritchett and, 53, 143 

Rockefeller Institute and, 108 

Social Darwinism and, 30-31, 33 

Southern Education Board and, 241 n67 

state universities and, 186 

use of managers, 249n98 
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement 
of Teaching, 5, 11, 179 

attacks on, 124, 169 

Committee on Costs of Medical Care 
and, 195 

Council on Medical Education and, 

full-time plan and, 173 

higher education and, 53-54, 143 

medical profession interests and, 
152-53, 155 

origins, 53, 143 

Pritchett's role in, 58-59 

role in medical education reform, 189 

state universities and, 53-54, 184-85, 

see also Flexner report; Pritchett, 
Henry J. 
Carnegie Hero Fund, 32 
Carnegie Institution of Washington, 108 
Carr-Saunders, A. M., 68, 69 
Carter, President Jimmy, 1 
Case School of Applied Science, 27 
Chambers, Frank R., 241n67 
Cheney, Howell, 1 17 
Civil War, 14-16,44, 114 
Clark, Jonas, 29 
Clark University, 27, 29 
Christian, Henry A., 166 
Crile, George W., 162 
Curry, Jabez L. M., 44, 45, 46 
Cushing, Harvey, 166-67 
Coler, Birds., 169 
Columbia University medical school, 

Index I 275 

Colwell, N. P., 140, 145, 146 
"Commercialism" in medicine, 1 1, 

147^8, 158, 194, 208 
Commission on Industrial Relations, 

United States, 170 
Commission on Medical Education, 176 
Committee for Economic Development, 

Committee on Costs of Medical Care, 

195-97, 199, 204, 209 
Committee on Medical Research, 225-26 
Comprehensive Health Planning agencies, 

210, 211 
Cooper Union, 27 
Cornell, Ezra, 29 
Cornell University, 27, 29 
Corporate capitalism 
growth, 16 

scientific medicine and, 61 
Corporate class 

composition, 4, 206 

foundations and. 4 

medicine and, 4-5, 206-08, 210 

medical education reform and, 136 

medical research and technology and. 

228-3 1 
opulent homes of, 20 
philanthropy and, 18 
physicians and. 1 1 . 59 
politics and, 19 

social problems of industrialization and. 
Corporate liberalism, 19, 54-55, 117-18, 

175, 185, 187. 191. 200 
Corporate philanthropy. 58 
Council on Medical Education. 85 
black medical schools and, 259n55 
Carnegie Foundation and, 142^44, 

152-53, 189 
Flexner report and, 146, 153 
full-time plan and. 163 
reform strategy, 139-41, 150 
state licensing boards and, 139^1 
survey and classification of medical 
schools, 139^0, 153 
Crocker, Charles, 20 

Dartmouth College. 26, 61 
Debevoise, Thomas, 174 
Debs, Eugene, 170 
deforest, H. W., 172 

Delafield, Francis, 102 
Dellums, Ronald, 216-17" 
Devine, Edward T., 21-22 
Drake, Daniel, 85-86 
DuBois, W. E. B.,241n69 
Dubos, Rene, 129, 220, 235 

East Germany, 221 
Edsall, David, 167 
Ehrenreich. Barbara, 92 
Ehrlich. Paul, 76 
Eliot, Charles W., 170 

attacks on Rockefeller philanthropies 
and, 171 

on economic benefits of medicine, 1 18 

A. Flexner and, 143-44 

full-time plan and, 167-68, 172 

Gates and, 262nl43 

General Education Board and, 57 

reform of Harvard medical school, 101 , 
151. 153 
Elizabeth I. Queen of England, 43 
Engels, Frederick, 131 
England, 77, 85, 117, 139, 145, 221 

National Health Insurance Act and 
National Health Service Act, 201 

primary care physicians, 215 
England and Wales, 214, 220 
English, Deirdre, 92 
Ethics, codes of. 66. 68-70, 74, 88 
Everett, Edward, 24 

Falk. I. S., 197,211 

Field, Marshall. 20 

Fishbein. Morris, 96-97 

Fisher, Walter, 113 

Fisk, Jim, 20 

Flexner, Abraham, 5, 84, 144-52. 154, 

166, 193 
AMAand, 151 
early career, 144 

full-time plan and, 156-57, 158, 164, 

167, 172-75 
Gates and, 156-57, 178 

grants to state universities and, 177-78. 

hired by General Education Board, 

156-57, 165 
on Johns Hopkins medical school, 145 
Pritchett and, 144 

276 I Index 

Flexner, Simon, 108, 1 10, 11 1 , 1 12, 125, 

144, 159 
Flexner report, 157 

AMA influence and, 143, 145-46, 

blacks in medicine and, 148-49, 154 
on class backgrounds of physicians, 

148. 149 
findings and recommendations, 146-51 
impact, 152-56, 188 
Johns Hopkins medical school and, 145 
origins, 143-45 
on proprietary medical schools, 1 1 , 84, 

147-48, 150, 188 
reactions of newspapers and medical 

journals, 258-59«5i 
women in medicine and, 149, 154 
Flint, Austin, 102 

Folk medicine, 78. See also Healers 
Ford Foundation, 229 
Fosdick, Raymond, 42, 183 
assets, 206 

corporate class and, 58 
corporate liberalism and, 187 
origins, 9 
physicians and, 9 
professional-managerial stratum and, 9, 

51, 186 
rationalization of medicine and, 9, 175, 

189, 195,207,210-11 
role in medicine, 8-9, 175, 206-08, 

support of medical education, 8,9, 193 
support of medical research, 8, 193, 

see also specific foundations by name 
France, 11,76-71, 127, 139, 145 
Franklin, Benjamin, 20-21 
Freidson, Eliot, 68-70 
Frissell, Hollis, 45, 46 
Fuchs, Victor, 235, 236 
Full-time plan 

conflict with practitioners, 1 1 , 160-67, 

General Education Board trustees and, 

Harvard medical school and, 166-67, 

impact on medical education, 176, 227 
Johns Hopkins medical school and, 
156-62, 164-65, 167, 175 

origins, 157-160 

rationalization of medicine and, 175 

Gates, Frederick T., 10, 196 

American Baptist Education Society 

and, 34-35,36,40, 124 
Baptist church and, 36, 38, 39, 124-25 
compared with Pritchett, 189-90 
compared with Rockefellers, 42 
corporate liberalism and, 54-55, 132 
early life, 38 
Eliot and, 262nl43 
A. Flexner and, 156-57, 178 
fund raising and, 39-40 
higher education and, 52, 54, 179-81 
his income and wealth, 38, 40-4^1 
on local "self-help," 47, 56-57 
medicine and, 233, 240, 241 

on economic benefits of, 112-13, 

first public health school in U.S. and, 

full-time plan and, 157-58, 172, 

174-76, 227 
on homeopathy, 105 
impact on medical system, 194-95 
interest in, 105-06, 111-12 
on medicine's role in society, 11, 
112-13, 122, 128-29, 133, 
157-58, 189 
on political benefits of, 122-25, 

on private practitioners, 158, 194 
role in medical education reform, 189 
on value of medical research, 132-33 
world view and scientific medicine, 
on missionaries, 123-24 
philanthropy and, 36, 41 , 42, 48-49, 52 
professional-managerial stratum and, 

on relations between capital and labor, 

55, 130-32 
religion and, 38-39, 123, 124-25 
Rockefeller and, 34-37, 41, 43, 48, 49 
Rockefeller, Jr., and, 41-42, 54-55 
on Rockefeller's critics, 49-50, 171 
Rockefeller's financial investments 

and, 37,40, 41,42 
role in Rockefeller philanthropies, 
41-^2,51,54-56,58-59, 111 
in General Education Board, 46, 48, 

Index I 277 

55-56, 187; defeats in, 175, 178, 
191; trustees and, 55-57 
in Rockefeller Foundation, 49, 55, 

in Rockefeller Institute, 49, 105-109 
the State and, 1 1 
state universities and, 177-87 
University of Chicago and, 34—35, 

56-57. 180 
on wealth, 43, 48, 49-50, 56 
Welch and, 103 
"wholesale philanthropy," 36 
General Education Board 

appropriations for medical education, 

11, 57, 155, 189, 193 
blacks and, 44, 45, 47 
farm demonstration program and, 47 
full-time plan and, 157-58, 163-76 

gifts from Rockefeller, 49, 50, 1 10, 

165, 179 
higher education and, 50, 57 
impact on medical education reform, 

155, 176, 189, 193 
impact on medical system, 194 
origins, 44-48 

Southern education and economic de- 
velopment and, 43, 44-48, 165, 
state-run programs and, 181-82, 184 
state universities and, 177-87 
trustees' role in, 55-57 
see also Gates, Frederick T. 
Gerhardt, William, 75 
Germany, 67, 71, 72, 76, 127, 139, 145, 
160, 201 
U.S. physicians trained in, 81, 82, 91, 
Gibbs, Oliver Wolcott, 26 
Gilman, Daniel Coit, 57, 145, 159 
Gladstone, William E., 32 
Goode, William, 68 
Gould, Benjamin, 26 
Gould, Jay, 20 
Greenberg, Daniel, 230 
Greene, Jerome D., 158, 170 
Guerin, Jules, 127 
Gynecologists, 213 
Gynecology, 92, 96 

Habermas, Jiirgen, 126 
Haggerty, Robert, 223 

Hahnemann, Samuel, 64, 105 
Halsted, William S., 82, 99, 145, 156, 

Hamilton, Alexander, 249n3 
Hampton Institute, 44, 45, 247n69 
Hanna, Mark, 19 
Harkness, Edward S., 172 
Harper, William Rainey, 35, 57 
Harvard University, 24-25 

medical courses in 1800, 61 

medical school, 72, 87, 153 
attitude toward A. Flexner, 146 
full-time plan and, 166-67, 174 
scientific medicine taught, 72-73 
Healers, 61-62, 69, 78 
Health insurance, private, 196-200, 202, 

coverage, 213, 214 

national health insurance and, 216, 217 

premium income, 199, 205 

role in medical system, 7, 205, 208, 

share of medical expenditures, 1 , 7 

see also Blue Cross; Blue Shield 
Health Maintenance Organizations, 209, 

Health Service Act, 216 
Health status, 219-25 

lifestyle and, 235-38 
Health Systems Agencies, 210, 211 
Helmholz, H. L. F. von, 91 
Henry, Joseph, 25 
Herbalists. See Healers 
Higher education 

Carnegie gifts to, 31 

development in U.S., 24—30 

professional-managerial stratum and, 

see State universities; specific universi- 
ties by name 
Hill-Burton Act, 199-200, 202, 204, 226 
Hobson, J. A., 123 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 151 
Holt, L. Emmett, 107, 108 
Homeopathy, 74, 218 

defined, 64 

Gates' attitude toward, 105 

origins, 64 

regular profession and, 64 

Rockefeller support of, 109-1 1 

scientific medicine and, 88-89 

see also Medical sects 

278 I Index 

Hoover, President Herbert, 103 

Hopkins, C. W., 118 

Hopkins, Johns. 29, 101 

Hopkins, Mark, 20 

Hospitals, 199 

capital investment, 99, 203 
expenditures on. 203, 205, 233 
finances, 99-100 
market system and, 205, 214 
medical technology and, 7, 99, 203, 

numbers, 99 
physicians and, 99 
rationalization and. 199, 209-10 
reflecting class structure, 100 
role in medical care system, 7, 99, 

voluntary, 205 

Howell, William H.. 145 

Howland. Charles, 164-65, 167 

Hughes, Everett, 69 

Hughes, Hugh Price, 32 

HuFl, Charles, 22, 23 

Illich, Ivan, 2. 3, 235 
Illinois Board of Health, 89, 136, 153 
Industrial capitalism, 16-17, 58-59 
Industrialism. See Technological deter- 

development of science, education, and 

philanthropy and, 24-30 
needs and problems, 13-14, 16-17 
Interest groups in medicine, 4—5, 204—05, 

226-28. 231-33 
International Education Board. 184 
International Health Commission, 116, 

International Medical Congress, 93 

Jane way. Theodore. 164—65 

Japan. 77 

Jefferson. Thomas, 62 

Jenner, Edward. 76 

Jessup, Morris K., 46 

John Rockefeller McCormick Memorial 
Institute, 108 

Johns Hopkins University, 27. 29 

first public health school in U.S.. 129 
medical school. 72-73, 82, 84 
Flexner report and, 145 

full-time laboratory faculty, 81, 159 
full-time plan and, 156-62, 164-65, 

167, 175 
preliminary education requirements, 
Jones, William, 2A9n98 
Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation, 195, 229 
Julius Rosenwald Fund, 195, 199 

Kass, Leon, 236 

Kellogg Foundation, 206, 210 

Kelly, Howard, 82 

Kennedy, Edward, 216-17 

Kessner, David, 224 

King, W. L. Mackenzie, 55 

Klebs, Edwin, 76 

Knapp, Seaman, 48, 181 

Knowles, John, 236 

Koch, Robert, 72, 76, 102, 128 

Kresge Foundation, 206, 210 

Labor unrest and organizing 

medical care and, 1 14-15, 1 17-18 

in 19th century, 17 

philanthropy and, 22 

see also Ludlow massacre 
Lalonde, Marc, 235 
Lambert, Alexander, 191 
Landis, Kenesaw Mountain, 50, 168 
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial 

Fund, 184 
Lawrence, Abbott, 24-25, 27-28 
Lawrence Scientific School, 25 
Leubuscher, Rudolf, 127 
Lewis, Charles, 214 

Licensing, medical. See Medical licensing 
Lifestyle and health status, 235-38 
Lloyd, Henry Demarest, 19, 49 
Lloyd George, David, 201 
Loeffler, Friedrich, 76 
London Charity Organization, 21 
Lord, Nathan, 26-27 
Lowell, A. Lawrence, 167 
Ludlow massacre, 54-55, 130, 169-70 
Ludwig, Carl, 72, 160 
Lydston, Frank, 150 

Mall, Franklin Paine, 145, 156-60, 162 
Managers. See Professional-managerial 

Martin, Franklin, 94 

Index I 279 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 

Mather, Cotton, 20 

May, Stacy, 1 16 

Mayo, Charles, 162 

Mayo Clinic, 99 

McCormick, Edith, 108 

McCormick, Harold F., 108 

McCormick, John Rockefeller, 107 

McGill University, 112, 165 

McKeown, Thomas, 219-20 

McKinley, President William, 19 

McNemey, Walter, 236 

Mechanic, David, 3 

Medicaid, 202-05 passim, 208, 209, 21 1 , 

Medical care, 1 

access and utilization, 1, 2, 196, 206, 

212-15, 236-37 
impact on health status, 2, 214,219-25, 

market system, 4-5, 212-18, 240-^1 
neglect of environmental factors, 2 
social control and, 2, 235 

Medical education. See Medical schools 

Medical education reform, 188-91 
early efforts, 65-66 
laboratory science faculty and, 81-84, 

medical faculty and practitioners, 

19th century gains, 136 
numbers of schools and students and, 

physicians' class origins and, 85-88 
proprietary medical schools and, 95 
role in profession's refomn strategy, 135 
role of corporate class, 1 36 

Medical licensing, 63-65, 89-90, 139^1 

Medical malpractice, 96 

Medical profession. See Physicians 

Medical research, 192 
advances in, 73, 75-78 
finances and expenditures, 101, 225, 

226, 228, 229-30, 232-34 
government support, 76-77, 225-32 
in early 19th century, 71 , 73 
in late 19th century, 72, 76-77 
technical effectiveness, 112-13 
see also Scientific medicine; Tech- 
nology in medicine 

Medical schools 

AMAand, 8, 163-64, 188, 191 
conflicts u'ith practitioners, 65-66, 67, 

faculty influence and medical research, 

finances, 82, 84, 101, 141^2, 176, 

government support, 226-27 
laboratory science faculty, 141 
in 19th century, 61, 64-65 
numbers of schools, 85, 135, 136, 154, 

proprietary, 82, 84, 95, 147^8, 162, 

role in medical system, 7 
see also Medical education reform 
Medical sects 

AM A and, 66-67, 88-90 
competition, 63-65, 66-67, 74, 80 
Flexner report and, 154-55 
scientific medicine and, 78, 88-91, 95 
see also Homeopathy 
Medical technology. See Technology in 

Medicare, 202-05 passim, 208, 209, 211, 

Medicine. See Physicians; Reductionism 
in medicine; Scientific medicine; 
Technology in medicine 
Meharry medical school, 153, 165-66, 

Midwives, 61, 78,96 
Milbank Memorial Fund, 195, 229 
Mill, John Stuart, 180 
Miller, C. Arden, 238 
Miller, Howard, 26 
Missionaries and medicine, 122-24 
Mott, Valentine, 71 
Murphy. Starr J., 107 

National Association of Manufacturers, 

117, 118 
National Cancer Institute, 219, 229-30 
National Civic Federation, 19, 1 17 
National Conference of Charities and 

Correction, 21-22 
National Education Association, 124, 169 
National health insurance, 205, 237. 240 
American Association for Labor Legis- 
lation proposal, 1 17, 191, 201 

280 I Index 

National health insurance (cont.) 
bills in U.S. Congress, 202, 216-17 
in Europe, 1 17, 201 

National Health Planning and Resources 
Development Act, 210 

National health service, 216-17, 240-41 
in England, 201, 215 

National Institutes of Health, 226, 227 

Navarro, Vicente, 207 

Neumann, Salomon, 127 

New York Academy of Medicine, 71 

Nixon, President Richard, 229, 237 

Occupational health. See Workers 
Office of Scientific Research and Dev- 
elopment, 226 
Office of Technology Assessment, 

Ogden, Robert C, 44, 247^67 
Osier, William, 89, 106, 161-62, 165 

Page, Walter Hines, 57 

Paine, Martyn, 86 

Palmer, Potter, 20 

Pasteur, Louis, 72, 77, 106, 107, 111, 

112, 128 
Pathological Society (of Philadelphia), 71 
Peabody, George, 44 
Peabody, George Foster, 57, 170, 2Aln67 
Peabody Education Fund, 44, 45, 46 
Peirce, Benjamin, 26 
Peking Union Medical College, 124 

corporate class and, 14, 18, 58-59 

corporate philanthropy, defined, 14/7 

higher education and, 24—30 

industrial capitalism and, 14, 22-30, 

poverty and, 20-23 

Rockefeller Institute as model, 132-33 

science and, 24—30 

"scientific," 21-22 

Social Darwinism and, 21-22 

"wholesale philanthropy," 36 

see also Carnegie, Andrew; Gates, 
Frederick T. ; Rockefeller, John D. 
Philbrick, Inez, 87 
Phipps, Henry, 108 
Physicians, 5-6, 60 

capitalist class and, 1 1 , 59, 70-71 , 

class origins, 85-88, 96-97, 148, 149 

commodities and, 198-99, 204 

competition, 60, 61, 74, 80, 135 

distribution, 214-15 

elite, defined, 65/i 

employment in institutions, 6 

heroic medical practices, 62-63, 73, 76 

hospitals and, 99 

income, 5, 6, 64, 67, 81, 82, 91, 157, 

laboratory testing and, 232-33 

Medicaid and, 213 

medical practices in 19th century, 

medical technology and, 197-98, 232 

other health workers and, 6 

other medical interest groups and, 6 

"overcrowding," 135, 147, 150 

in primary care, 2, 215 

professionalization, 63-71, 94—97, 
192, 239 

specialization, 73, 91-94 

status, 6, 60-63, 67, 135 

technical effectiveness, 67, 70, 71, 
73-79, 91 

-to-px)pulation ratio, 67, 94, 147, 214, 

training in Europe, 61, 72, 73, 81-82, 
Pillsbury, George, 39 
Popular Health Movement, 63 
Populism, 17-18,63,69 

and medical profession, 63, 69, 70 

access to medical care and, 96, 212-15 

health behavior and, 236-37 

health status and, 220-22 

philanthropy and, 20-23 

Rockefeller on, 33 
Powles, John, 220 
Pratt Institute, 27 
Primary care, 215, 223, 225 
Pritchett, Henry S. 

AMAand, 143-45, 151-53, 190 

attitude toward Gates, 54 

Bevanand, 143, 144, 151-53, 190, 

black medical schools and, 153 

Carnegie and, 53, 54, 143 

compared with Gates, 189-90 

Flexner report and, 143-45 

full-time plan and, 173 

General Education Board and, 54 

Index I 281 

hiring A. Flexner, 144 
medical profession interests and, 

role in Carnegie Foundation, 53, 58-59 
role in medical education reform, 189 
Professional-managerial stratum 
development, 9, 14, 51, 58-59, 192 
philanthropy and, 51, 186 
rationalization of medical care and, 
204, 208 
Progressive movement and party, 49, 1 17, 
126, 131, 132, 168, 169,174, 191, 
200, 201 
Public health programs, 47^8, 103, 

115-17, 124 
Public health school, first in U.S., 103, 

Public Health Service, United States, 225 
Pusey, Robert, 79 

Railroads, 15-16 
Rauscher, Frank J., Jr., 229-30 
in industry, 51 

in medical care, 6-9, 193-96, 199-203, 
204-12, 237, 239^1 
defined, 6, 8 
full-time plan and, 175 
private practitioners and, 191 
Reader, W. J., 85 
Reductionism in medicine. 10, 75, 

119-22, 127-30, 133, 228-31 
see also Scientific medicine; Tech- 
nology in medicine 
Reed, Charles A. L., 84, 90, 137 
Religion, 31-40 passim, 64, 105, 121, 

122-25, 127 
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 27, 29 
Roberts, John B., 125 
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 206, 

Rockefeller, David, 187 
Rockefeller, John D. 

attacks on, 49, 168-70, 182 
attitude toward science, 1 10-1 1 
Baptist church and, 32-33, 34, 123 
Commission on Industrial Relations 

and, 170 
contrasted with his son and Gates, 42 
Gates and, 34-37,41,43,54 
gifts to 

General Education Board, 46, 49, 

50, 165, 176-77, 179 
Rockefeller Foundation, 49 
Rockefeller Institute, 104, 105, 108 
University of Chicago, 56 
grow th of fortune , 15-16 
homeopathy and, 109-1 1 
innovations in industry, 52 
philanthropy and, 9, 18, 32-33, 35-36, 

Pocantico Hills estate, 20 
politics and, 19 
poor health, 35 

Rockefeller Institute and. 49, 105-09 
role in Rockefeller philanthropies, 

41-42,50-51, 111 
and his son, 41^2, 56 
Standard Oil Co. and, 35 
University of Chicago and, 34—35, 

56-57, 180 
views on wealth and poverty, 33, 43 
Rockefeller. John D., Jr., 52, 56 
Commission on Industrial Relations 

and, 170 
contrasted with his father and Gates, 42 
corporate liberalism and, 54-55, 187 
and his father, 41-^2, 56 
first public health school in U.S. and, 

Gates and, 41^2. 54-55 
on Gates' role in General Education 

Board, 48, 111 
origins of General Education Board 

and, 46, 49 
professional-managerial stratum and, 

role in Rockefeller philanthropies, 

41-^2,51.54,56, 111 
in Rockefeller Institute. 107-09 
in Rockefeller Sanitary Commission, 

on philanthropy, 52 
Southern education movement and, 44, 

on state universities. 184, 186 
Rockefeller Foundation, 195, 206 
attacks on, 169-70 
charter problems, 169 
full-time plan and, 173, 176, 227 
gifts from Rockefeller, 49 
grants to medical schools, 189 
political uses of medicine, 122, 124, 


282 I Index 

Rockefeller Foundation (cont.) 

role in medical education reform, 189 

role in medicine, 210 

state universities and, 182, 183, 184 

support for medical research, 229 

see also International Health Com- 
mission; Peking Union Medical 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical 
Research, 49, 127,228 

biological reductionism and, 129 

Carnegie Institution of Washington and, 

gifts from Rockefeller, 104, 105, 108 

homeopathy and, 1 10 

as model, 132-33 

origins, 105-09 

political value of, 128 
Rockefeller philanthropies, 196 

attacks on, 168-71, 182 

corporate liberalism and, 1 1 

Gates role in, 58-59 

role in medicine, 104, 225. 239 
Rockefeller public health programs, 48, 

103, 115-17, 124 
Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the 
Eradication of Hookworm Dis- 
ease, 115-16, 130 
Rogers, David, 234 

Roosevelt, President Theodore, 49, 168 
Root, Elihu, 184-85 
Rorem, C. Rufus, 199 
Rose, Wickliffe, 184 
Rothstein, William, 65, 90 
Rush, Benjamin, 62, 161 
Rush medical college, 107, 109 
Russell Sage Foundation, 2Aln67 

Sanitary Commission, United States, 1 14, 

Schooling, compulsory, 23-24 
Science, development in U.S., 24-30, 

Scientific management, 75, 126 
Scientific medicine, 10 

capitalism and, 10-11,61,98, 193,241 
contradictions for medical profession, 

defined, 219 

economic benefits for physicians, 193 
as ideology of professionalization, 

10-11,60,71,73,74-80.95, 193 

industrial world view and, 74 
medical education reform and, 95-97 
medical practice and, 73, 75-76, 79 
medical sects and, 78, 8^-91, 95-97 
physicians' technical effectiveness and, 

95-96, 193 
social medicine and, 127-28 
specialization and, 91, 95 
as substitute for religion, 124-25, 127 
see also Reductionism in medicine; 
Technology in medicine 

Scotland, 61 

Sears, Bamas, 44 

Sects. See Medical sects 

Sheffield, Joseph Earl, 26 

Sheffield Scientific School, 26 

Sherman, John, 19 

Shryock, Richard. 77 

Silliman. Benjamin, Jr., 26 

Simmons, George H., 137, 138, 140-41, 

Slater, John F., 44 

Slater Fund, 44, 45, 46-47 

Slavery and medicine, 1 13-14 

Sloan, W., 172 

Social Darwinism, 21-22, 52 
Carnegie and, 30-31, 33 

Social medicine, 127-28 

Social Security Act, 202 

Socialism, 14, 43, 50, 131, 201, 216 

Socialist party, 49, 132, 170, 174, 201 

Society of Clinical Surgery, 162 

Somers, Anne, 234 

Southern economic development. 43, 
44-48. 165 

Southern Education Board, 44 4 5, 46, 


competition with general practitioners, 

73, 92-94, 95 
fee-splitting and, 93-94 
physicians incomes and, 91-92 
primary care and, 94 
scientific medicine and, 91 , 95 

Spencer, Herbert, 21, 30 

Standard Oil Co., 16, 35, 49, 50, 54, 168 

Stanford, Leland, 20, 29 

Stanford University, 27, 29 

State, the 

corporate class and, 200-201 

defined, 9n 

medical care expenditures, 1 

Index I 283 

medical research and, 16-17, 225-232, 

medical technology and, 218 
national health insurance and, 217-18 
rationalization of medical care and, 

200-03, 207-12, 218 
role in medicine, 8, 9, 12, 195, 205, 

State universities, 1 1, 47, 53-54, 177-87 

Stevens, Rosemary, 99, 162, 193 

Stevens Institute, 27 

Stiles, Charles Wardell, 115-16, 129-30 

Stokes, Anson Phelps, 171, 174 

Surgery, 92, 214 

Sweden, 221 

Tarbell, Ida, 49, 168 

Taylor, Frederick W., 126 

Technological determinism, 2-A, 126 
Marxist critique of, 3 

Technology in medicine, 3, 239-40 
corporate class and, 4, 228-31 
costs, 233-34 
decline, in support, 234—38 
health work force and, 6 
impact on health status, 223-25 
medical technology industry, 204-05, 

physicians incomes and, 6, 232 
role in medical system, 198, 215 

Topping, John, 1 15 

Tuberculosis, 220, 223, 225 

Tucker, William Jewett, 32 

Tulane University, 27 

Tuskegee Institute, 44, 45 

Universities. See Higher education; State 
universities; specific universities 
by name 

University of Chicago, 34-35, 56-57, 179 
full-time plan and, 165, 175 
Rush medical college and. 107, 109 

University of Cincinnati, 183 

University of Colorado, 1 83 

University of Georgia, 183 

University of Iowa, 177, 183, 184 

University of Michigan, 153 

University of Oregon, 183 

University of Pennsylvania, 27, 61, 72-73 

Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 27 
Vanderbilt family, 20 

Vanderbilt University, 27, 165, 175 
Vaughan, Victor C, 150, 161 
Villerme, Louis Rene, 127 
Vincent, George, 124, 171, .184 
Virchow, Rudolf, 72, 127 

Wall, Joseph F., 52 

Walsh, Frank, 170 

Wanamaker, John, 44 

Warner, Amos, 22 

Washington, Booker T., 45, 241n69 

Washington University at St. Louis, 165, 

Watson, Tom, 18 

Welch, William H., 86, 111, 112, 145, 
156, 157 
AMAand, 191 
career, 102-04 

desire for career in research, 81-82, 159 
on economic benefits of medicine, 1 18 
first pathology laboratory in U.S., 72 
first public health school in U.S. and, 

103, 129 
full-time plan and, 164—65 
Gates and, 103 
on private practitioners, 191 
Rockefeller medical philanthropies 
and, 103-04, 108 

Wharton, Joseph, 27 

Wilbur, Ray Lyman, 264n4 

Wilensky, Harold, 68-69 

Wiley, Harvey, 25 1 n40 

Williams, William Appleman, 58 

Wilson, Charles, 240 

Wilson, President Woodrow, 170 

Winkelstein, Warren, 222 

Women in medicine, 88, 96, 149, 154 


conditions, 16-17,23, 114-16,220 
development of industrial work force, 

Gates on workers, 130-32 
health status, 113, 116-19, 220, 

222-23, 230,231,238 
occupational cancer, 229 
see also Labor unrest and organizing 

Yale Scientific School, 26 

Yale University, 26, 72-73 

Yale University medical school, 165, 175 

Zinsser, Hans, 227 


"No one can or should ignore this book. It's an eloquent, well-documented 
damning appraisal of the historical marriage between medicine and capitalism 
and its impact on shaping the kind of health care system we have today." 

— Washington Post Book World 

"One need not agree with the thesis, although there is much logic to it. The case 
is well-researched and presented in an interesting manner. This book should 
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— Bulletin of the History of Medicine 

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